Saturday, October 02, 2004

The courage to change the things I can...

Several of you dear readers may remember that I focused considerable ire at the management of Harry Caray's (a restaurant here in Chicago) last fall for paying more than $113,000 to blow up the "Steve Bartman baseball." I felt, and seemingly rightly so at the time, that in a town where so many people need so much, to use more than a hundred grand to destroy a baseball (even a supposedly symbolically shameful one as that) was an incredibly hypocritical waste of resources.

But God has a sense of humor...
...because now I'm working for 'em.

Yup - two plum assignments for Accountemps fell through because the clients weren't quite ready to commit to a long-term temporary employee. So, Thursday afternoon, I got the call - would you take a part-time assignment, instead of just waiting for a full-time one? Well, any assignment beats no assignment, so Friday morning I ended up trundling downtown on the Red Line to State and Kinzie, to do accounts payable entry work at Harry Caray's corporate HQ. Oh, well...what price convictions now, eh?

I finally surrendered to a couple things this week.

First, I'm tired of fighting spam on my email address. I don't know what site I visited to attract such a bombardment, but even with Yahoo's spam-blocker, it's annoying. But more than that, I guess it also reflects my second surrender...that whatever ministry work I do in the future, it probably won't involve a Masters of Divinity degree any time in the near future. Nor will it likely include ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America...although I hope that some day it will include some sort of ministry leadership position in something that looks like "the ministry of Word and Sacrament."

So I started sending out the emails to change my if I could just email my mind to make that realization less painful, it would be a real blessing...

In the ELCA, the candidacy-for-ministry process takes four big "steps" - "entrance" to seminary (the decision that was postponed indefinitely for me), "endorsement" to go forward on internship, "approval" to be ordained, and the actual rite of ordination. This last week has been a number of my fellow students' endorsement meetings, and my only real connection with the process was to offer to pray for those who were having their meetings in the foreseeable future.

Well, a number of folks had their meetings Thursday and Friday, and I did pray for them (and their committees) - it seemed like the least I could do (in fact, about the only caring ministry I am doing, outside of the recovery communities). And it was great to hear that a bunch of 'em got endorsed. But yesterday evening, as I came back from my first day at the Harry-Caray's gig, I heard that a group of the endorsees were headed to a "View & Brew" night at the Vic theatre downtown - and that I was more than welcome to join them.

And God help me, but I just couldn't do it. On the one hand, I was drawn to be part of the fellowship...but on the other, the huge longing to be "a part of" the journey was just more than I could bear, at the time. So I begged off...fixed myself dinner, watched some TV, and went to bed early.

This morning, the day looked better...a meeting, some prayer, some reasonable eating, and some house-cleaning action (physical and spiritual) has helped immensely. All I can do is walk forward in faith, I guess.

But I've never dealt well with feeling "apart from," and this not-being-connected with the seminary community is just kicking my butt. I keep asking for some direction - other than just running away and leaving the seminary community - but so far, the silence has been deafening. But I'm sunny side up, suckin' air and sober - which is a great blessing - and I'm grateful for that. I guess that God will restore me to sanity (at some point) about being around (but not in) seminary - and I'm just gonna "wait upon the Lord" for that acceptance and resolution. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Any time You're ready, Lord....


Nick said...

"I keep asking for some direction"

How about East?

Find something that makes your heart sing. You have that emotional intelligence thing going for you, and a great passion for the arts. How about something in that realm?

Dave said...

I think he should write professionally