Friday, October 10, 2008


That's me at my ordination, 1991.

This coming Sunday a woman that I've been advising toward ordained ministry will be ordained in a grand, wonderful worship service, full of music, meaning, and many of the people who have helped get her to this day. I have another friend, an ordained minister, who was in Israel this past year and is now looking for a position in a church as a settled pastor. She compares this process of looking for a church to dating. You look at each other from a distance, perhaps like what you see. If both are interested, maybe they meet for coffee and test the waters. Neither of you want to appear too eager; both of you are putting your best face forward. The first friend is getting married for the first time, the other is dating. And me, I'm feeling like a bridesmaid.

Last week I had a dream in which an old flame approached me for some comfort. I gave him a warm, lengthy hug to which he replied, "Let's go some place." Fear shot into me, as well as anger, because I wouldn't want just a one-night stand no matter who he is. I sputtered back at him, "I'm not the only one standing here. I've got a husband and two children. I can't just go off with you."

When I woke, my heart was pounding. I couldn't relax and sleep again until I had figured out the meaning. First of all, I was glad I gave the 'right' answer. I wouldn't betray my family, even in my dreams. But most of my dreams go beyond the superficial or surface meaning. I realized that I'm growing weary of supply preaching. It's starting to feel like a one-night stand: everybody loves what I do, but there's no relationship--not really. Not like a marriage where you love each other even when you disagree or let each other down or are just having a bad day. I want a relationship with one church; no more playing the field. I want to baptize their babies, watch them grow up, teach them in confirmation, visit their grandparents, preach sermons, sing the benediction for them, love them through whatever.

Ironically, though, I'm waiting for my husband to come to a similar conclusion about his own career. And I must wait for him, because I can't begin a relationship with a church, only to leave them in a few short years should my husband's job search cause us to pack up and move. Being in covenant is never easy but it does help when I'd rather give in to the whims or passions of the moment. Covenant reminds me that I'm part of something larger than just my own little life, that everything, everything is worked out in relationships of one sort or another. After all, it's not just me standing here.

1 comment:

Andy said...

These rare insights into your life as a wife/mother/minister often fill me with pride for my dear friend and hope that we can all be better, more reverent people. Thank you.