Su Penn wrote in Tape Flags and First Thoughts, "I thought, ... God might transform me from a whining, self-pitying, over-sensitive complainer into someone with something meaningful to offer, an agent of grace." I empathize, and recognizing my wishful thinking, attempt to figure out where I'm at.
At one time I felt called to ministry and eldership. I felt connected spiritually, and blessed with the kind of wisdom that comes from being distanced from issues and not knowing people well. More typical now is a sense of struggling to establish connections, aggravation with everyone’s shortcomings (including my own—my neighbor as myself), and general gloominess. Often I have trouble settling in worship. I remember, “Be still and know that I am God.” I let myself drift. I think. I look out the window. I tried an anti-depressant but don’t like side-effects; it’s summer—I feel better when outside, I work with a therapist, and read.
Do the work. Impatient with what I term “Quaker chaos,” I took on the coordination of scheduling and training greeters and helping as needed. I try to post queries, announcements, and schedules on the blog and website calendar in a timely fashion. I ask for advice then try to tactfully address issues with individuals and in meeting for business. I wonder if I should offer to be the back-up to the recording clerk. I try to process my frustration with the chaos afterward and breathe through it during. Sometimes reading a bit of Friends Journal helps me center down and recall what this is all about. I try to recognize and talk about my feelings with my wife before they become a Big Thing.
I decided to try to learn a new kind of ministry: outreach—being welcoming (coming out of a shy and reserved self) and learning how to be strong and steady (while feeling quixotic and pessimistic). I like getting cards so am learning to write cards to those who have been bereaved, who are ill or suffering, or who are new to meeting. I don’t know if practice will help words come more easily or not, but the “Dear Abby” column is useful(!) in addition to my wife’s experience and wisdom.
Petting the cat. Playing with the cat. Being part of two CSAs. Exercising.
Is it acting, or does praxis become self?
“I am who I am becoming.”