This morning I attended a meeting in another town with another priest, under the Diocesan Assisted Self Appriasl scheme. This is an optional part of the Continuing Ministerial Education CME) programme, so it would be easy to avoid, especially for those whose previous experience of appraisal has always been tied to judgement. However this is a genuinely independent review - self-directed, and with no consequences in the parish, and it is a scheme that I found extraordinarily useful, and as we only meet every 2-3 months, it is possible to fit into my schedule without feeling over-burdened.
I think I am blessed, that we have made a meaningful connection; to find someone who listens and challenges, and yet is always unremittingly supportive and joyful. This has meant that I have been able to be very open about the rewards and struggles along the journey, and to look at other ways of doing things, different approaches to problems, different ways of seeing 'difficult' situations, ways of looking from God's perspective - and I'm sure there are always some in every post. Today, and in our last meeting, I have felt that the relationship contains something of both of us (I do hate that feeling of being a 'client'), where our journey is shared, and where we are able to learn from each other.
God calls and guides us, directs our path and provides light and hope along the way - in Scripture, in our history and traditions, and so many other ways. but for me, reflecting back is very helpful, and when two mirrors reflect each other, the possibilities are endless. I think I got a glimpse of that future today.
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