My husband won a goldfish at a fair a number of years ago, and being the sweet nurturing soul that he is, took fantastic care of it.  I learned a lot about pet fish in the time that Joe the Fish Guy was with us, and one of the things I discovered is that goldfish grow much bigger when they live in bigger tanks.

I've been thinking about that at the hospital.  Our supervisors are confident that my fellow students and I will be OK, and on Wednesday they'll be setting us (relatively) free.  That space to grow will let each of us fill out in a way that constant close supervision and micromanagement wouldn't.  (We will ABSOLUTELY still be instructed and supervised.  There's no reason to alert the authorities, don't worry.)  The department has been clear about wanting people to become more confident, and to have a greater sense of their own competence.  This feels a) remarkably good and b) somehow unusual in ministry.

A great lady once taught me that humility isn't about believing that I'm less than everyone else, but about believing that everyone is equally valuable.  My experience of the church has been that ministers often take on the less-than definition of humility, and that it too often degenerates into a Uriah Heap falseness.  "Oh, no, I'm too 'umble"... to really embrace and celebrate my call, to proclaim my gifts, to speak my truths firmly.  I wonder if part of clergy burnout is the tiny tank that we keep ministers in (or ourselves in).  Of course we need safeguards, and of course I don't want to give egomaniacs free reign.  But for ordinary, good ministers: joy and wholeness cannot grow in a tiny tank.

1 comment:

  1. WOW this is good. I love the analogy. I know you are going to grow so big in a very good way.


"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