Saturday, March 17, 2012

Things around me

*a girl who is finally liking her hair done
*the freshly knitted yoke of my February lady sweater
*a stack of books I'm required to read spring quarter
*the first cuts for the chevron quilt I'm working on for Shepherd
*a copy of Oliver + S little things to sew calling my name
*a silly bebe who loves food and his stokke trip trap high chair
*pruning scraps from the random nice weather

I love this life :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

spring break '12 & prayer

it doesn't feel like spring break.  I'm calling MTI sites for internships, and reading for my upcoming weekend class, and taking H to school - and registering her for kindergarten (holy s**t!).  James' birthday is less than a week away and I have no idea what I'm going to do about that.  sigh.

Actually, the most thought consuming task I am in the midst of is being brought on by a single bolded section of the syllabus for my class Spiritual Discernment & Decision Making.  It reads as follows:

 Discernment presupposes that the person has a habit of prayer, so you are encouraged either to continue your regular habits of prayer or to discover a prayer pattern which provides the grounding for a loving discernment and discerning love in your life. 

I spend a lot of time talking, teaching, sharing, advocating for, and thinking ABOUT God, but praying or spending personal time with God? uh... my bad.

Prayer and the idea of prayer has become my screwtape letters devil experience.  Since my babies died, and God's people suffer all over the world, cancer kills many who pray dutifully and death passes over those who never pray a day in their lives,I have struggled with the idea that prayer is somewhere that people ask God for help, or to do things for them.  I am almost physically ill when I hear others pray like that, and  it's practically physically impossible for me to pray in that way.  To put it simply, I cannot believe in a God who "answers" some people's prayers and not others.  That, to me at least, is not the meaning of Love.
Additionally, I still have that childish lingering feeling that if I simply use prayer as a way to chat-it-up with God, I'm wasting God's (and quite frankly, mine as well) time.

I believe that God is present with me when I am gathered with friends, my family, alone.  I believe that God is my constant companion, my "invisible friend" who never leaves me and is always in love with me.  I believe that, if I had to claim a way I pray, I would say that at any time I want/need, I turn my inner eyes to a corner of my mind and see God's hands on my shoulder, God's face emitting emotions based on my own feelings/situation but always mixed with love and concern.  Maybe that constant speechless yet empathetic companion is my way of praying?? hmm, more to think about....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

changes big and filling

As many of you know, I am in grad school.  seminary, to be exact.  And I have a strongly discerned and confirmed call to be a sexual theologian through writing and teaching and story-sharing.  I had determined 3 years ago when I began seminary, that the way through which I would create such a unique career would be as a psychotherapist specializing in sexuality.  however, this quarter, something changed.

I have recognized that the clinical pieces of psychotherapy don't only disinterest me, but they drain me of energy.  Learning the diagnostic categories for "disorders," used to sound super intriguing, but now that I'm doing just that, it feels like labeling and hyper-focused listening that easily neglects the story of the client as a whole person made in God's image. I have, also, been mourning the loss of the theology and spirituality classes I was taking before my program intensified into the clinical.  I have been longing for Olivier Clement and Bonhoeffer.  William Countryman and Maya Rivera.  As I looked at the remaining 2 years + a quarter of school, I would not be able to take even one more theology class, and I suddenly felt empty, bored, unfulfilled, scared, and upset that I may have misled myself.  Though mental health psychotherapists and extreemly valuable members in society, I no longer feel lead to be one.

well, crap.  Does that mean $42k in student loans is down the drain?!? this is what I assumed my partner would say when I mentioned my thoughts shifting.

not at all! Because here's the grace! I chose to learn psychotherapy in a seminary.  As a candidate for ministry in the ELCA who has strong community support from her congregation, her family, and the sisterhood of the ELCA Deaconess Community, I know I am still called, if not more strongly than ever, to be a sexual theologian.   And now that I have been in my seminary community, I have found a way to make that call fit me so much better!

and that is something I am having a meeting about this morning with my adviser.  Is it feasible to change at this point? Practically, are the classes I would need available on my timeline, and some more questions.  The change in direction is slight.  My previous courses would not have been taken in vain, for they are required for both.  By noon I will be confirmed & registered for a new course of action preparing me as a spiritual director :)