Recently, members of the Pastoral Care Ministry team and I shared a workshop, “Creating a Caring Community” with some other church members (and we are repeating it in two half-day sessions on July 11 and 25).
We focused a lot on listening.
Listening is the most therapeutic, spiritually healing, thing we can do for each other.
Really listening. Listening so much the other person actually feels heard . . . I mean truly feelsheard.
Would not the world change if everyone felt that way?
Henri Nouwen writes, “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds [and, I would add, our joys] with a warm and tender hand.”
Let me be such a listener, such a healer, today, God.
Recently, in “Spirit & Truth,” a monthly publication from Sunshine Cathedral MCC, I read this statement from Judy Garland: “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
Judy was a troubled person, and her death from alcohol and drug overdosing was tragic. But she was an original, not a copy.
I believe with all my heart that I am doing the work God calls me to do; but there are parts of me that still do not express themselves fully.
Emmet Fox says, “God has not made you without a definite purpose in view.”
I pray today to live more fully into all that God has for me. Help me, God, to be the original you design.
Many of us saw the video, “Call Me Troy,” this past weekend. The film vividly shows the powerful witness for justice of Rev. Troy D. Perry.
So we should not be surprised to learn that he, and his husband, Phillip de Blieck, were among LGBT leaders invited by President Obama and the First Lady to the White House this past Monday to celebrate Stonewall and Gay Pride.
Many of these folks are angry with the president because they feel he is letting the LGBT community down. They want immediate action to overturn “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the “Defense of Marriage Act.”
I share some of the frustration, even as I am convinced he is our ally and friend.
This President knows enough of our history to celebrate it.
In addition to Troy and Phillip, the invitees included Rev. Candy Holmes and her partner (UFMCC Vice Moderator Rev. Elder Darlene Garner). Candy was there, and also at an earlier White House event, wearing two hats–as a leader of LGBT federal employees and MCC clergy.
One way or another, equality is coming. And MCC is in the forefront.
I was short of sleep. I had too much to get done in one day. I had been working too hard for too long with not enough down time.
My inner tapes started running, the ones about how no one really appreciated me, how my job is impossible and everyone else has it easy compared to me, how the guy behind me on the road is too close, how even the traffic lights are against me . . . . .
Then, I talked to a friend on the phone. I met with a colleague for coffee.
Between the friend on the phone and the colleague over coffee, things began to shift. Then, I thought: pray!
As soon as I began to pray, the tape recorder stopped, and things got a lot better . . . fast.
I made some adjustments in my day. I worked hard, yes, but with Jay Irvine, and several members and leaders–including Sara Fleming, Linda Redmond, and Rev. Cheryl–it was joy. And later, I watched a video with Jonathan.