Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Cloud of unknowing: anything but boring
I have difficulty with the "m" word – you know, ministry.
I never thought it applied to me until I wanted to attend something called School of the Spirit, a two-year Quaker program for spiritual-nurture ministry. Training in ministry.
Ministers, for me, had always been above, more educated, more spiritual, more directly in tune with God, more sure of themselves, more certain in life. Maybe even a little boring. Something I was not. Even in my Quaker Meeting where I knew everyone was a minister, I still felt outside of the concept.
When I had my first clearness committee within my meeting for School of the Spirit, that word – in BIG, capital letters – stared me down. There was no escaping. I had to deal with it. I have reconciled that as I have accepted my gifts and know that I use them as ministry. I think the egalitarianism of Quakerism also helped me reach this place. Acknowledging it does not place me below or above anyone. It's just who I am and what I do. Honestly, it always has been.
I also think discovering Goddess and the Sacred Feminine within has changed my attitude. I have certainly reshaped my image of a minister to include myself.
The next piece of this journey is undertaking my real work, that which feeds all myselves, including the spiritual and creative. It is part of reaching wholeness and recognizing that my ministry can also be my work, from which I draw income.
Perhaps as I became a mother at a later age, I laid down too much. Or maybe, it's just that it's time to reclaim some of those pieces and establish boundaries and priorities, including that my gifts do have value. I am transforming my believe that only in another world I would be paid to do what I love to finding how to earn a living doing what I love here and now ... because what I love is my passion. What I was meant to do.
A current piece of that is beginning my meeting's new encouraging-and-supporting-ministry process. I really have to share this call to ministry somewhere [beyond me and God]. Not just the ministry, but holding it. I feel it has grown bigger than I can or should handle. I have been trying to figure that out on my own, but I think group discernment is the answer right now.
I have to confess that I am also a little afraid ... afraid of showing off what I have been birthing for fear of criticism and rejection. Fear that some may say I misunderstood God's call.
This blog has been a step in that direction. A testing of the waters. And, although I wish I could say I was so certain that I needed no acknowledgment, I am very grateful for the feedback and support right here.
It reminds me of something I recently spoke in worship when several people struggling spiritually were on my heart: "Do we truly live in the Spirit and, if we do, how do we know?"
The answer that came back was: "We don't; we live in a cloud of unknowing."
Hey, if that doesn't confirm I have a ministry, I don't know what does!
• Have I ever thought about myself as a minister?
• What are my gifts?
• How have I viewed ministers and how could I sculpt a new vision that includes myself?
• Can I help others do the same? Maybe even in just doing it myself?
I appear to myself
as the little girl always
struggling, thinking she
gets it because she feels it
but never quite sure
only sure that she
has to keep struggling,
recording that journey
and sharing it
maybe that's enough