Thursday, September 17, 2009

Above the Clouds

I haven't had a lot to say lately.

Or, I've been really, really busy.

Or, I've been trying to get my house in order.

Or, yeah. All that.

On the "not much to say" issue (which reminds me of Larry's pointing out to me how connected this song is with the un-closeting process I've gone through this year!), I am-- in perhaps a good way?-- left speechless by the events of the past months. On August 30 my congregation voted to keep me as their pastor. On September 1 the denominational body in charge of oversight of ministers and congregations voted to concur. And... unless someone files some kind of charges against my regional denominational body in the next three months-- that's it. I'm home safe.

(Sort of. Someone could always file allegations against me, and attempt to bring about a disciplinary case. But I think that's a less likely scenario. Those who are determined to keep the "scourge" of gay clergy out of the church tend to go for the ordaining/ installing body... makes it more expensive and more painful for more people, you see.)

I'm home safe, and I'm sort of speechless about this. Literally, at least once a day, it occurs to me that I'd like to pinch myself, and ask, "Is this real? Did this really happen? Did I do that?" And, you know, friends, I have had to endure so much less than so many people. I have been in a same-sex relationship just 5 years. I have only been closeted that long. (Though my heart was closeted for far longer than that.) I have not had to suffer the way, for instance, my Beloved had to suffer, enduring close to thirty years in the closet both for fear of losing her job and for fear of losing her precious daughter. What horror, and there are people this day in 28 states who face the same threats. People who can lose their employment and their children and have no recourse. It's.... a horror. That is all.

And I? Five years. Piece of cake. Good relationship with the ex, who was supportive from the get go. Easy does it. And... this is huge... I did not grow up in churches where a damaging anti-gay message was taught or preached. Nor did I grow up in an anti-gay household. What blessings these are. Can anyone ever have been so fortunate? I have had it easy.

But still. The weight that is lifted is significant. I am standing on a mountaintop above the clouds, and breathing in new air. I can kiss my Beloved in a parking lot downtown and not look over my shoulder at who might be watching (though, truth be told, we sort of fuddy-duddies about the PDA's. Sort of old-fashioned girls. In this one little sense!). And... I'm speechless.

So. I haven't had a lot to say lately, except... what a view.

Also, I've been really, really busy. Turns out that vote for me to be their pastor for four more years? They expect me to work! A lot. OK, they're very reasonable about it. They just expect me to... you know, be the pastor. And that is a big (and yummy) responsibility. And.... now that the vote is over, I've been having to work to refocus myself on the work at hand. The work beyond how to stay there and preach every week and lead worship. And I love it. What a privilege.

Then there's the "getting my house in order" issue. As many of you know I have struggled with my weight for much of my life. Last year I shared with you (here and here) that I found my way into a 12-step program to deal with the issue of addictive eating. Over the course of many months I lost somewhere in the vicinity of a hundred pounds, due to the genius of the program and the grace of God.... certainly not my own doing. And yet... a hundred pound weight loss can go to a girl's head. You know? I eventually kind of let the whole "saved by grace" aspect of my program slide, found myself "using" again (flour and sugar) and struggled with a weight gain of about 25 lbs. (I know. It could have been so, so much worse).

Anyway, I have a tough-love kind of guy sponsoring me, and he's helping me to be a "non-eating robot" and I am slowly finding my way back. The weight's coming off, the days of abstinence are starting to add up. But it's hard, and it's consuming a lot of my energy, even as I find it's paying me back with new-found energy. Thanks be to God.

So, all of the above. Neither reading nor writing a lot, but I hope that's changing, soon. Or, now.


MaineCelt said...

What a view, indeed... thank you for reminding me that there is grace in the midst of the plunge back into life's busy-ness. When I was first waking up to my own vocation, I used to pray for a "valley" faith, not just a mountaintop one-- I was always concerned about how to sustain and deepen my faith amidst the lowly, common demands of community life. It sounds like your own "valley faith" is deepening, too. (As for me, I think I need to revisit that old prayer myself!)

Unknown said...

I'm so glad to hear from you. Your sponsor sounds good.

miekevandersall said...

love your writing sweet thing.

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

thank you for writing...again. I had wondered if you felt that your blog journey was at an end. But of course each day is a rebirth, with new opportunities for this great adventure called life. And you are amongst those who give me courage to face the new day. Thank you.

August said...

it's so good to read this! i have been wondering. i can only imagine that the whole 'having to look over your shoulder' mentality would be a difficult habit to break; i'm so glad you're feeling ... free.

Just me said...

Hey there! I'v listened to a lot of Martin Luther King speeches recently and I am reminded that "We as a people will get to the promised land" You seem to be having a mountain top experience at the moment - long may it last!
I start back at work next week after 5 months off - so feel the call of the busy starting to hum over the horizon.
Something I have learnt recently is - to be kind to yourself - I wish that for you - as others have shown humbling kindness to you - in the same vein show kindness to yourself. Be as wonderful to you as you hope to be to your congregation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thoughts and reflections. Much to think about.

Sara said...

I'm so happy for you. It has been an incredible journey, thanks for letting us share it.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

((((unCP))))) Pondering all this...and wishing you and Beloved the best.

Mary Sue said...

Yeah, I'm late to the party, I've been running around the country for two weeks straight.

But, you ever get the feeling God is laughing at you? Like, you know, "You thought THAT was hard? Aw, how cute! Now get to work, bb!"