Because there's so very much to process, and because in the past that's gotten in the way of my sharing anything at all, we're going with bullet points this week. (I spent a week in Ohio in August, and another in April, and both of them were profound times of formation. I still want to write about them.)
Here we go:
- I'm taking a workshop on Spiritual Autobiography, and a class on Living with Loss/Grieving.
- There are TWO people that I know and enjoy in my classes! It's a small world of ministry in Lancaster County, and I'm so happy to run into these two.
- Intensive writing and paying attention to loss is going to make for an emotional week, I think. I've packed a handkerchief in my bag.
- There is some serious grace being doled out to me. One of the two people I've run into is a warm, kind pastor of a UCC church that I worshiped with briefly after resigning the process. There's no other way to say it: I've been scared of ordained ministers since I resigned. In light of that, his gentleness and encouragement have been a real blessing. Especially since I didn't join his congregation.
- I really love being in class, talking about the things that matter most to me. The grief class is a great blend of cerebral and personal.
- I think I'm an anomaly: apparently, most people feel more comfortable writing in plain, cheap notebooks. I love pretty journals, lovely pens. I'm not intimidated by them, I find them inviting. I like nice tools--even for the messy stuff.
- I may be more comfortable writing than most.
- Our Loss/Grief prof: "Certain events in our lives have not been dignified with recognition." Well, how powerful is that?! I thought of some right away, truths that we didn't want to dignify, but they were still important. This got me thinking about liturgy, which I've always loved. I've been a bit rigid about liturgy (in fairness, some of this is because I think it's so important), and when I thought about it as commemoration of events, I could see the possibility of more flexibility. I remember learning that a Church of the Brethren pastor and spiritual director held a service of blessing and release to a directee who'd been called to Episcopal priesthood (she'd worshipped in both denominations). Wouldn't it be great to honor those who discern calls out of things?
- "What we grieve tells us what we love." Well, absolutely. But think about it. Because there are a lot of layers in that one.
- Losses and gains are interrelated, but only the griever has a right to name any gifts that might come through grief.