Thursday, February 25, 2010

Subtract one animal, add one human

So Roxes, the dog that Joel saved from being torn to bits by another dog 10 days or so ago, took off a few days ago. We are hopeful that he has returned to the home we felt sure he had somewhere since he was such a great dog. A little less juggling now trying to keep unfixed boy dog roxes away from unfixed girl dog Lilly.
Last night, Andrea moved back in. he is a thirty-something singer/song-writer who has been at college for a while since he last lived with us. Paul did a great job of making a second separate room next to Joel's in the back room.

Spiritually, still don't feel like I'm making much headway out of the deadness. My prayers seem more like business memos to heaven. Except for a few. I am still able to pour out my heart for the people of Haiti and some particular missionary families there, and for my precious daughter Brianna.

Tiny baby steps still out of the silence.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Just so exhausted. fatigue and illness are definitely the enablers of isolation and silence. Rrr. Last night we got in from Treehouse around midnight. Treehouse is always a highlight of my month, but even it was dimmed a bit by my exhaustion yesterday. Still hung with cool people and heard great music and poetry.
Anyway, we unloaded and fell into bed. About which time Em, the 1-year-old, woke up, apparently with painful reflux or something else awful. As I was coming back from getting her medicine from the kitchen, I almost slipped on something wet and discovered a huge puddle of Lily pee in the hall, then look up to see Lily pooping in the hallway. (Fortunately, Lily is the dog, not a kid.) Then she goes to where her leash hangs and poops again. I know you want to blame us and have pity on her --except that Paul had just taken her out 15 minutes earlier! Began clean-up, went back to Em and realized there were no diapers in the house. You have got to be kidding me! Em finally starts to settle down and I walk out in the hall to check on Lily. There I find Brianna crying because Lily has totally torn up her bed and then peed on it too! So I got Bri settled on the sofa with a repentant Lily. We all apparently got some sleep because here we are in the middle of Monday. But not remotely meditative or able to think of personal growth. But I have blogged again. Baby stes. Oh yes, and the P on my keyboard doesn't seem to be working without extra pressure. Baby steps.

Friday, February 19, 2010

what silence?

I've never really been that much of a talker, even before this last phase of silence. I have tended to think carefully before speaking and to do most processing internally before verbalizing anything. Eventually God and others convinced me that I was a prophet and had the obligation as well as the need to speak in many situations. I was still careful, and still frequently begged God to let me off the hook when the speaking was hard. Being a female prophet may be Biblical, but it's definitely not Baptist (in my experience--please don't feel a need to argue this in comments). So little hammers chipped away my voice that way, all hammers who were sure that they were doing the right thing. But I finally became a bit more comfortable in my own voice. I found a tiny core of two other women with whom I could learn how to speak not just God's heart but my own. Encouraged, I began to actually speak my heart unguardedly. For whatever reasons, that turned out to be too much pressure on the relationships. Because I had fought hard to reach that level of vulnerability, I think I tried pretty hard to keep it going. But I just didn't know how. The whole thing had been a new experience for me, so I didn't have any prior knowledge to fall back on. Then it seemed that those I was most open with were telling me again and again how hurtful my words were, how destructive. So I tried less and less to keep talking. Discouraged but still sure there was something in what I had gained that I was not supposed to lose, I even tried to resume relationships with people I had long ago achieved a high level of openness with. And I totally sucked at those efforts too.
I found that I had no words that could heal the people right next to me who were in deep crisis. I did try for as long as I could but I heard from multiple people how wrong my efforts were.
First to go was the phone since I've always had some phone phobia. I completely stopped communicating by phone and let Paul relay all messages, check on people I was concerned about, etc. I realized recently that it's been at least six months since I've e-mailed anyone other than my parents about anything non-logistical or non-business-related. I have tried to keep up with at least occasional teaching at our house church because that's my responsibility, but I have definitely been in the role of teacher rather than prophet, and I have mostly relied on parroting the words of others (although very high quality words). And I have frequently just not been able to show up.
Some time back, I was doing my lectionary study online with the revgals group. I wiped away tears at a few of the current struggles shared briefly amidst sermon title talk and smiled at the warm encouragement given, and I was hit by a warm feeling: Now this is my community. Of course moments later I was chilled by the realization that I have never once posted a word, that I am a lurker there. Ouch. That's a sick concept of community.
I've started calling Paul often on difficult days and saying, "Did you have a flash of inspiration of someone who might help us? I just don't feel like I'm going to make it through the day." And for months, he has continued to say, "I'm sorry honey--I can't think of anybody to ask. Do you need me to take the rest of the day off work?" Which is of course ridiculous, but has occasionally turned out to be necessary.
I've been having dreams fairly often in which Paul and Brianna aren't part of the existing world and I find myself completely alone with no one to talk to or lean on in any way.
So, I'm sure that at least some of you have been wounded, offended, disappointed, or angered by my silence. I'm sorry. It really wasn't about you, and I really didn't feel able to do anything else, but I'm sorry. And I really am working to give my silence up for lent.
(Sigh. Hitting post before I can decide to delete.)

what to give up for lent

So I struggled a bit--or more than a bit-- about entering Lent this year. Often it is a season I delight in, but this year, I just feel exhausted and dead inside. During one of multiple long nights, the thought came to me to give up pastoring for lent. (Weird, i know.) I just feel like I have no resources left to pastor and when I got even more honest I was able to admit that I haven't actually been pastoring for a long time. In the interest of honesty, it seemed like a good idea to just finally say out loud that I'm not able to do this and stop trying to make whimpy little efforts. I hesitated only because it would dump everything in this busy season on my beloved co-pastor and husband. When I talked about this with Barbara and Paul, we had a huge laugh over the t-shirt: "I've given up pastoring for Lent. Don't tempt me." (We generally enjoy making signs like this or even shirts like this. It's most fun of course when you're giving up something like complaining or cussing.) Another night of wrestling and some snippet somewhere about Elijah running away, and I realized the call might be to give up silence for Lent, which also sounds weird because it is a season when many people intentionally seek more silence. But the silence I would be giving up would be my own. In other words, I would have to find my voice again, and use it.
The two seemed to pull in different directions until I wrote that down on paper. Then I heard something that I had been told in the past, and it clarified the unity of the two. Some time ago, exasperated and rejected, I told someone, "Okay, fine. I will stop pursuing a friendship with you." She said, "Is that what you've been doing???? 'Cause I definitely want you to stop what you've been doing." And maybe that's how it is with pastoring: maybe God and my flock would say, "I definitely want you to stop what you're doing, but I wouldn't call that pastoring."
Ah. So it may be difficult to even maintain the illusion of pastoring from the place of silence, particularly if you're supposedly a prophet.