The last 2 weeks have been a time of inner and external turmoil; probably some of the most frustrating and reflective days I've had in recent times, and that's saying a lot, considering that I do a lot of reflection!
Last Monday I met with the RSCC, who determine whether I get the go-ahead to the next step - from ministry aspirant to candidate.The upshot is that they postponed my candidacy for a year, which was very disappointing. Two main issues that stand out for me are:
1. I was not perceived as being authentic until near the end of the 30 minute interview, at which point they saw the person they were looking for. I was trying to portray the professional and capable side of myself during the questioning, which was intensely personal, and at times felt invasive. It is ironic because this was my first real interaction with the professional side of the denomination, and at the end of the day, I did not feel supported in my journey to ministry. Even though there was no indication that the committee felt the need to deny me candidacy, but just to postpone it, I left that building not knowing who the heck they saw, if not me. I have been given strong recommendations, excelled in academics, and pushed myself to take on leadership opportunities. Somehow, that group of people saw someone else that was not well represented by the paperwork they reviewed.
Unfortunately, my career assessment paperwork took 4+ months to be processed, not giving me enough time to comment on it before I had to approve it due to the deadline for paperwork. The very thing that concerned them is the very thing that I would have asked the center to edit had I had time. My relationship with my mother continues to haunt me, though it no longer defines me, just informs who I am.
The ironic part is that I now find myself feeling less able to be vulnerable, and am not even sure that this is the right path to be on. That is not what the committee said, but how I feel. Once I work through my Kubler-Ross stages of grief, I"m sure I'll make lemonade out of lemons.
2. My finances were a huge issue, which I was blindsided by. And the upshot is that I left there angry that the very denomination that is talking the talk of economic, gender, racial, etc. diversity does not seem to be walking the walk. Postponing my candidacy will cost me thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships that are not available to me this year as an aspirant. I will also be held back a year and may not be able to get into the MFC in my final year of school. That will cost me a year of job searching. There didn't seem to be any recognition of this fact, or even forethought, that some of the recommendations they made, and the postponement will put me in a longer term, more precarious financial situation. I feel quite personally hurt by this, in terms of the faith I have put into our denomination spiritually, and also have some crushed idealism about whether we are capable of changing.
Regardless, the recommendations - CPE, counseling, financial planning, etc., are all good things that will help my ministerial formation; however, I could have done all the same things as a candidate, and have ended up in better financial shape at the end of the whole process. I already have an appointment with a new therapist, and a financial planner. I'm a can-do kind of gal.
I wasn't sure how transparent to be about all of this but you know, it seems like a good idea. I'm not perfect, and feedback is good, even if I don't agree all of it. Maybe another example of my ambivalence toward authority, but it's something I have to deal with, and they are good people who want to make good ministers. Nobody I've talked to really seems to be able to understand it, so maybe I just had a bad interview.
The interview came on the tail end of two of the worst migraines I have ever had, one of which I drove to Boston with. My physical health has been an issue lately. After that difficult experience, I had to have extensive hand surgery a few days later, which has kept me mostly off the computer except for school and work. I still have a mid-term in process that is a week overdue and spring chores are calling my name. I am in a cast and already ripped half the stitches out of my finger, and am not dealing well with the whole healing process.
I saw the doctor (again) about the migraines and am on a new daily medication plus an acute migraine med. I spent 3 days after my surgery intentionally allowing myself to mope and rest. I watched a lot of 24. I did a lot of nothing and I am better for it, but now I'm ready to move on and my hand won't let me. I'm still having a lot of post-op bruising, swelling and pain (despite my attempts to do very little), and I'm out of patience. I have to wear this cast for another week.
My dad, who I am guardian for, has been having increasing health issues, and I am getting several calls a week from the nursing home lately. I'm trying to finish this semester, prepare for 11 weeks of full time CPE starting June 1, and be present and available to jumpstart my fall internship, should it be approved next month.
In the midst of all this, my independent contract job is causing me additional headaches. I was hired in January and have not yet gotten paid. Legal is holding everything up with contracts, but my bills aren't getting paid, and I just found out I am looking at a $300/month shortfall in another area. I feel utterly defeated tonight. we are already stretched so thin that I can't really imagine how to make that work and I already anticipate all the fun pushback I will get from my older kids about sacrificing more. They may say they understand, but that doesn't mean that I won't pay the price for it in other ways both intentional and not.
So, that's where I've been. I'm tired, and depressed, and not feeling very good about my path, my body, or my ability to function like a responsible grown-up today. I know it will all work out, but man, I am really tired.
So I want to write, I want to connect, but my soul needs to hibernate. Catch up. Rest. And there's just no time for that. I try to be pretty PollyAnna, but I'm feeling like it's OK to feel like crap right now. Everyone will just have to put up with me for a couple of weeks
That said, I have a lot of people in my thoughts and prayers. Breathe in peace. Breathe out love. I am grateful for spring days, fresh eggs, smiling children, a loving husband, and a comfy bed.