One of my objectives, when I started this job, was to organise life in such a way that I would be able to keep various elements in balance. I had in mind that I would carve a sensible and balanced life around work; train for my next marathon, pick up a bit on swimming, get plenty of sleep, entertain friends old and new, make time for reading and study as well as getting plenty of sleep.
Well, I haven't succeeded in every area! In fact, the only one I have been successful at is keeping my sanity in a place where many of my core beliefs and values have been challenged, usually by the very people from whom I expected affirmation and support. Other parts of the job have been much more time-hungry than I expected, so it's all been a bit lop-sided in practice.
However, I have taken advantage of the Diocesan 'Assisted Self Appraisal' scheme, and have been fortunate enough to be placed with a delightful individual, who has a gift for finding the positive in any situation. A sympathetic and mature ear, accompanied by enthusiasm and cheerfulness help me to put life back into perspective when my view of it gets skewed.
This morning I found myself some miles away from home, sitting in a familiar room reflecting on the experience of pilgrimage, and its relationship to my current work; the good, the bad, the ugly and the profoundly beautiful and moving moments. It was a joy to share and to sift, and to continue the processing of such a complex and concentrated set of experiences.
Then I moved to another town to meet with my Spiritual Director who kindly took me through the logistics of administering 'higher church' communion. It was a powerful sharing of our calling, passed on to me as a gift, from someone who had received the same gift some years ago from another priest. This is another person who helps me to tread lightly through the various issues.
The actions will have to be adapted for Sunnyside; despite my preference to do things 'properly'. Sometimes compromises have to be made, and my task between now and 'then' is to find a path that balances my integrity and the needs of the local church - not as easy as might be imagined.
However, I will be able to express the 'full set' at the Abbey later in the year. It seems unlikely that anyone there will argue with me about the presence of Christ in the Eucharist...
Next week I'm seeing another priest for a similar lesson in a slightly different tradition; hopefully this will help me to distill my thinking.
A Clear View
1 day ago