A Happy Ending...

I know how the book ends. Trust me. So turn back to that page where your bookmark sits, waiting for you to live the way you were meant to live, savoring every moment.

Monday, April 03, 2006

If you can get through this entire post, you're a saint (READ: a very lengthy blog)

Alas, the 2006 Youth Ministry Conference is over. After a year of prayer and meetings and phone calls and sleepless nights and excitement and victories, it happened with only a few small hitches and I simply couldn't be more pleased. For those who have no idea what I am talking about, the Youth Ministry Conference is kind of my big project of the year (along with a number of other things of course) and something I stress over but totally look forward to. Our Keynote Speaker, Holly Rankin Zaher was truly fantastic - the sessions were engaging and really built community, which is something the youth ministers in this diocese really need. I didn't know much about the Emerging Church. Honestly, it's a term that's been tossed around in every youth ministry circle I belong to, but for some reason, it scared me, and I never really explored it. I realize now that the fundamentals of it are elements of my own personal theology that have been there for years, many of which I was never able to put into words.

So yeah, my weekend was incredible. Professionally, it was a great event for this Diocese. Personally, it was a weekend of ah-has, oh yeahs, and oh crap, I have to really think about the future now. Allow me to disect...

Lex Orandi/Lex Credendi
Or, prayer shapes belief. Some of my more faithful readers might remember a story I told about going to Good News Club as a child and what a detriment, in the end, it was to my faith. When presented with the opportunity to "ask Jesus into my heart" I developed the "magic word" complex. Maybe my prayers are all wrong, maybe I didn't have the magic words, maybe Jesus wasn't in my heart. Years later, I still struggled thinking I might be doing it all wrong.

Prayer shapes our beliefs. Then our beliefs shape our prayers. It's a never-ending cycle. We have great power in our words when we pray with or for someone, when we teach a child a prayer, and when we join in the chorus of contemporary Christian music, to name a few. When we pray aloud, we speak into being a Theology that may or may not be sound. This was a real "ah-ha" moment for me.

On Wednesday, something happens
I was sitting in a workshop entitled "Hymns for the 21st Century" which was fantastic. We covered much more ground than critical analysis of music. We talked about life. The woman leading the workshop was sharing with us her experiences in running camps which focus on using the arts with kids who are severly at-risk, kids who have witnessed horrendous things in their lives, and still others who have become trapped in their own lives full of unhealthy behaviors. The concept was great. They allow the kids to express themselves through many different forms of art and music and painful truths are revealed in these works. Sounds amazing, but I posed the question of how things really go down in this idealistic picture she painted. She laughed and said, "for the first two days, it's hell. You want to give up. You think of giving up. And then on Wednesday, something happens...

This was my "oh yeah" moment. It can't always be Wednesday, when everything seems to come together and that whole idea of "everything working together for good" is much more than a nice camp slogan. Sometimes it's Monday. Sometimes life is hell and all our efforts seem useless. Sometimes it's Tuesday, and we continue to do what we did on Monday and it seems even more pointless and even more difficult. But Wednesday happens in every season of our life, just as sure as the sun rises and sets each day. Life is a cycle and happy endings often need painful and difficult beginnings. I am encouraged to press on, not just now, but in every season of my life. On Wednesday, something happens.

One more for the team
Have you ever been around those people who always have an unsought answer, debate, or opinion? Just because they talk more than the rest of us combined, doesn't mean they are any wiser. In fact, their need to always offer their own thoughts quite possibly shows some ignorance. (Ok, so this one was random, but can definitely be considered an "oh yeah" or else a "well ain't that the truth" moment.

A mountain awaits me
Literally. Sewanee rests atop a mountain. I'm getting closer to it every day and "oh crap, I really have to think about my future now." I know I've already posted on my uncertainties regarding this, but they haunt me even more now that this conference is over. I was able to medicate my worries with the details and logistics of this past weekend, but now they are resurfacing. I think I've concluded that part of the difficulty rests in the fact that I am leaving something I've really grown to love for something that really has nothing to do with. (I know it does, but work with me.) I know I am very much a part of Rich's seminary journey and this next chapter is as much mine as it is his, but this move we will make in 7 months is about his calling and his passion, not mine.

I had a moment this weekend when I looked back on the last few years of my life. I remember when I graduated from TLU, I truly mourned the loss of the "cocoon" that I knew there. I moved back to Houston and weeped at the thought that I might never be a part of something so amazing. I am a person who craves spiritual community and soul-food, beyond that which the church offers. I am a student of life. I found myself feeling so alone when I moved back here, even though I was surrounded by people I loved. I wanted to be a part of a community again that I was passionate about. At this particular moment in the conference, I finally felt like I was in that type of community again. I found kindred spirits in the most unlikely of people. For a few moments, I savored the feeling of once again being in a cocoon, and quickly, reality brought me to the realization that in 7 months, it will all be over. Once again, I'll be searching.

The beauty of the cocoon analogy (which either God gave me in that moment or my random mind came up with in its effort to make my heart feel better) is that it proves the importance of leaving it. When I'm in the cocoon, yes I'm growing and I'm being nurtured by relationships, but what good am I doing and what am I offering the world. I can't give much back when I'm in the cocoon, and I am one for action, so this is not a good place for me to stay all the time. My current job comes with it's ups and downs, that's for sure. But I realized this weekend that I am part of an amazing community...just in time to leave it. Ah, the cycle of life again. Wednesday, again.

So, I've got a mountain to look forward to. What an ironic (or not at all ironic) metaphor for my life right now. So many things to figure out. So many things to let go of and trust God instead. So many things...

and finally...
I'm so glad we aren't made from cookie cutters
I'm not sure where this realization came from, but it has given me such peace. I am referring to Rich and I. One of the most beautiful and frustrating things about us is that we fight just as passionately as we love. I'm not talking about silly fights. I'm talking about deep ones like world issues, faith, morality. I get so frustrated sometimes because we discuss these topics with such passion, but we sit at such different points on the spectrum. There had been moments when I thought that this might get the better of me. But for some reason, I had a peace come over me this weekend and I'm glad we're different. We truly challenge each other and sharpen each other "as iron sharpens iron." I can't change the fact that we are both such passionate people, and I don't want to! We may disagree sometimes, but that same passion that moves us to argue, moves us to love each other in a way that is so amazing. I often wonder if other people love each other as much as we do. Passion baby. I wouldn't trade it for the even keel any day.


  • At 4:00 PM, Blogger Lauren said…

    Trish, your beautiful spirit amazes me every day. What powerful words!

    I'm glad you gleaned so much from your weekend. Carry these insights with you as you move forward. May the Spirit keep stirring within you. . .

  • At 7:49 AM, Blogger Rich said…

    You are super! Out of sight! It's strong, smart, sophisticated like you who could take over the world!

  • At 8:33 AM, Blogger trishy said…

    gosh gee, honey, thanks for making me feel loved, since apparently no one reads my blog anymore. :)

  • At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh, we read. Sometimes, though, the blogger has just done such a great job that you just say, "well done" and sit back to contemplate. Like after a big meal, we need time to digest. No one wants to ruin it with too much chatter, just let the good stuff resonate around in our minds.
    Or, no one else could get through it all, and a few of us just skipped down to the comments section!

  • At 7:03 AM, Blogger trishy said…

    I believe my man Billy Joel sang a song about that. "Honesty." hehe

  • At 1:11 PM, Blogger Lauren said…

    Sugar Bear here thinks your blog is FABULOUS!!!



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