5.31.2006

A New Tactic: Not Being Afraid

Mr. M and I were talking about finances today-- my boggled, messy, huge, late student loans.

We were also talking about the expense of seminary (and how that point will be moot if I can't untangle my student loans enough to get my transcripts released). The parish doesn't have money to help, the diocese doesn't have money to help. The seminaries expect that you should enter school without debt-- something very unlikely among college grads in this country today.

A nagging ache has accompanied my call: I want to serve God, but I don't know how to assume this responsibilty of these costs. I don't have any idea how to pay for it, and it's been a silent cloud of doom for literally years now.

I spoke with my parish priest about it once. He told me not to worry about it, that these things work out. Never responded to my concern about it again. I appreciate his optimism, but I also know that his family is mired in debt.

It is not a lush life to which I feel called. But I worry that this is just another symptom of the church's illness-- the way clergy are expected to debt in their time, their energy, their finances-- with no real institutional support.

But it's not just righteous indignation. I'm really worried, and disappointed, and I feel very small. So small, in fact, that I've felt really unable to take on this challenge.

It's a good thing that Mr. M doesn't feel that way. It's a good thing that he's got a bit more faith and hope (and likely love) than I have right now.

Because he looked at me this evening and blurted out the following radical concept: How about we stop being afraid of this? How about we just plunge in, and start being more assertive about what should be done? Calling the people we need to, understanding the ideas we need, and finding out what our resources are? How about we get on top of this and start believing in it instead of caving under it?

Damn.

It's a powerful thought, and more than that, it's full of hope that I haven't felt in a long time. I'm not sure he knows how much faith is starting to seep out, but it's humbing for me to watch at the moment. Reminds me a lot of what Barbara Brown Taylor says about the creeds-- that sometimes they're valuable not because we believe them, but because we need others to carry that weight when we're not strong enough.

Thank you, Mr. M.

2 comments:

  1. Randi Jo9:38 PM

    Mrs. M,
    It is good to see you blogging again after a bit of a hiatus. It is amazing to hear those words comming from Mr. M. I am glad to hear that he is able to express the faith that you need at this time. Also, it is amazing that we also share the similarity of being scared s***less by financial problems. Will the similarities ever end?
    Take a deep breath and boldly walk ahead. It will happen. It will take work. God will be with you.
    Much love, RJ

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  2. Anonymous10:54 PM

    I'm with you on the fear/avoidance. I can't even fathom what I'm going to do about my 50,000 on a museum salary, but I suppose it'll be like eating an elephant. i'm sorry that you are finding that you education has become a roadblock to your education. it doesn't make much sense does it? i'm thinking of you and know you'll get there! loves, lola

    ReplyDelete

"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins