Many years ago, at the diocesan discernment retreat, the priest leading my small group looked at my carefully organized notebook and completed homework and asked, "Is it stressful to be that anal retentive?"

While he was introducing himself to me.

I was too young, and trying too hard to practice that "obedience" bit to respond, but by now I know about myself that he had the wrong idea entirely.

Planning is part of anticipation for me, and it's pure joy. I love love love imagining what might be, and I'm rarely married to any particular outcome. Preparation is how I look forward to something, how I get excited and pumped up. Buying notebooks or pens in August isn't just checking items off a list, it's "I'm going to get to use these soon! Think of all the things I'll learn and the friends I'll make!"

I get to schedule my classes in mid-August. I have to wait until then. Orientation's in mid-/late August. There's very little I can plan or anticipate right now, so I'm wondering silly things like, "What will I wear on my first day of classes?" I'm kind of disappointed that there's such a small window for preparation and imagination. Right now, it's just a big old blank chalkboard, and I don't know which colors of chalk I'm going to be allowed to use.

Clearly, this would be a great time to practice being in the moment, instead of being several moments ahead. (AHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's a good one. *snort*)

(This is, by the way, a fairly typical Enneagram 7 thing. More on that later.)


  1. I also like being prepared, or having a plan. I don't ever particularly care if the plan gets changed, it's knowing I've got a platform that makes me feel "me." I think of the Episcopal liturgy in the same way: I like knowing the rubrics, and the "why's" of the rubrics. Is this because I want to know from whence I start? Is it because I want to see how far the parabola takes me? Is it because I like to know the rules so that I can break them?

    I am so excited for your preparations! Please continue to update.

  2. Jen L.1:27 PM

    Ugh. I would have been tempted to reply, "Not for me, but is it stressful to be so rude to people you've just met?"

    But probably I would have thought it on the inside while being completely stunned by how people who should know better don't manage to keep their filters on or their mouths shut...

  3. Jen, that sure would have gotten me out of the ordination process sooner!

    Truthfully, though, I'm positive he didn't mean to be unkind. Or, if he did, he thought it would ultimately be helpful. And you know, if I were really stressed and meticulous, it could have been liberating, maybe. It just happened that his observation was really off-base.


"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