Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Year without Self-care

About this time last year, I started a bit of a tail-spin. My oldest left for college and I had decided that this was the year I would finish my degree. And re-engage in the candidacy process for ordination. And take a part time job as the assistant pastor of my local church. And of course be a wife, mother and full-time development professional. At the same time, I was bearing a lot of grief - still mourning the loss of my father, watching my darling boy go away to school, grappling with the grief of divorce, rebuilding, joint custody, being far away from my mom and my siblings, watching friends move on to other things.

In retrospect, I am not sure what I was thinking. It started with desperately wanting and needing to be finished with my graduate studies. Eight years is quite enough, thank you. Somewhere something else took over. Maybe a desperate need to prove something to the world. But I think the greatest sin was pride... You know, "I can do this." Maybe it was a belief that if I piled enough on, I wouldn't feel any pain.

I remember thinking at one point that I was going to have to let go of my own needs and just put my head down and muscle through. In my head that was a practical response - there is no time to exercise, no time to plan for nutritious, healthy meals, no time to read for pleasure, no time for vacation, no time to indulge my love for good food prepared from scratch with love. It wasn't so much a choice as a necessity as I plowed ahead.

I know now how untrue that is. I did have a choice. It was a choice I was unwilling to make. It was a choice to protect myself, my health, my body, my heart, my very soul that I set aside for other things. I've made bad choices like that before. I guess I am grateful for the ability to see that choice, to see it's impact. And to correct my path and move ahead.

I am grateful that my MDiv is complete. I am grateful for the hands on experience in the local church that now undergirds my understanding of my call to ordination AND to the work of seminary education. I am grateful that I had opportunities to preach and to teach, to lead and to counsel. I am grateful for God's presence and protection along the way.

And I am grateful to have reassessed. I am grateful that running 3 miles is once again a great joy. (Someone call me on that after I try to do 5 miles an hour tomorrow morning.)  I am grateful that on any given day, I have four books in process...books that I have chosen (they might still be theological in nature, but I chose them). I am grateful that I have rediscovered the Joy of Cooking - the act and the book.  In the midst of it all, I have found by core, my breath, my spirit.

Thanks be to God.