In years past, these December reflections achieved two things: 1) an abundance of navel-gazing personal reflection achieved by combing through a public record of reasons I liked each and every day; and 2) a silly, toss-up means to keep my eternal, infernal, insatiable writing itch scratched. This year, finding myself employed in ways that both consumed the majority of my time and defied easy daily lists of liking, I didn't keep the discipline. Also, that itch has been pretty well rubbed raw these last few months (see: here and here and sermons preached here and an upcoming print edition of this). All that to say: life shifts and so do practices. Nonetheless:
2012 Year-End Examen Blogathon, Day 1:
When were you most grateful?
This spring, when the newness of this work and this place began to settle into realization about where and what working as a pastor in a congregation is, or can be. I still don’t know much, really, and there are plenty of parts that are not, shall we say, shimmering with spotless charm. But knowing people, learning to love people and to delight in them, watching relationships grow and falter, witnessing the Spirit at work in weird and confounding ways, always in the midst of lives filled with contradiction, mess and drama: I’m not sure that I could have found myself to another place where all this was so readily available and on such massive display.
I want to tell you seventeen stories, here, stories of weird interaction and blessed redemption, of family dynamics gone haywire, of illness and death and communities shouldering burdens bigger than anyone ought to bear.
I want to tell you stories about watching middle schoolers shoot up like weeds, as if they were inhaling life experience into some metabolic process, as if these new inches came straight from pain and wonder being folded up into their tendons, their electrons.
I want to tell you stories of teenagers naming their faith and articulating their passion, stories of babies being born and babies dying, stories of sage-like old widowers speaking breath-catching truth right in the middle of a long string of teasing nonsense.
I want to tell you stories of reality so real it couldn’t be believed – coincidences that weren’t, intuition transformed into worship and friendship, a group of people catching the breeze of the Spirit’s movement in their midst, turning their heads and becoming some thing more than the sum of its parts, a different mathematical operation altogether.
There are so many stories that I want to tell you…and, for so many reasons, I can’t. Witnessing, for now, is my work. And for that, I am grateful.
(For the month's worth of blogging prompts, click here.)