Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gratitude, Burnoff, and Confusion


1. I don't know to whom I should be more grateful: Sarah Palin or Tina Fey. Or perhaps the Russians, the ten or twelve of them surveyed by Alaskans gazing across the water every morning before breakfast. Whomever -- I'm just thankful for anyone who can give me a moment of laughter.

2. Many, many, pre-child years ago, the Quiet Husband and I went backpacking a couple of times on Isle Royale, a national park island in Lake Superior above the U.P. Because of time constraints, we went back and forth via float plane rather than ferry. The plane from the mainland in Houghton, Michigan to Isle Royale's Rockport Harbor always seemed an iffy proposition -- you'd wake up in the early morning to a town blanketed by fog, and listen to the locals' breakfast reassurance that "it'll burn off soon." Which it did.

I have had, over the past couple of days, a few short periods of my own burnoff. The fog that has enshrouded me lifts for 20, 30 minutes at a time, and my mind functions with clarity. It feels good. It feels like me. It doesn't last, and the ensuing fog is as thick and impermeable as before, but it offers a sense of hope.

3. When I began seminary last year, it was with a great deal of trepidation, which only increased over the first several days as numerous young students told me with great confidence that they knew they were following God's will by the ease with which things had fallen into place for them -- money, jobs, housing. It wasn't until I began to meet the students of my generation that I found peers whose experience mirrored my own -- students struggling to manage their own tuition and that of their college-age children, students quitting or changing employment, students making challenging commutes, students transforming or dismantling well-established lives to undertake seminary educations.

So no, I was never in the group of people who felt able to evaluate their calls to ministry on the basis of the ease with which they were unfolding. But the death of my child? Off the charts.

I have no idea what to think or how to proceed.

15 comments:

Deb said...

Lord have mercy.

You've been inside my life again... Or my head.

Yes - 2nd-3rd-4th career changes. People think you're brave, crazy or just... holy? Not if they know me.

Things have not fallen into place for me either. I find there are days I wonder and doubt. And then something happens which tells me - yeah, this stinks, but giving up is worse. Trust Me. Keep trying.

SO I say the same to you - keep trying. And know there's a lot of us praying you through...

Deb

Anonymous said...

As opposed to the people who glibly pronounce, "Things happen for a reason," I prefer to believe that things happen for no particular reason except, of course, as dictated by the laws of nature. Does that make me an athiest. I dont know.

Michelle said...

I'm glad Tina Fey gave you a moment of laughter...me, too!

And glad that the fog lifts, even if only for a few moments. When my better half and I went to Wales, the weather was persistently rainy, with occasional bright spells...

Stratoz said...

a few days ago a student said, " I need to show you something." And as we watched the SNL skit with Tina Fey, I was filled with HOPE that my supervisor stayed out of my room.

we just watched the first episode of Mad Men on DVD. probably will watch the second episode.

when my better half and I moved to Oregon, I learned how an umbrella worked. somehow persevered without till then.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Oh my Lord, I would not know how to proceed either. My heart just reaches out to you now.

Kathryn J said...

Burnoff. Hmmm - sounds better than jagged cracks - even if it is short-lived.

I have not found much that is easy - career changes or otherwise. Just now, walking isn't very easy - that fog you talk about makes me sure that this is nothing. I have experienced such a fog on Nantucket It burnt off around noon and came in hard again by 8 pm or so. It's disorienting, confusing, and cold.

I am thinking of you.

Stushie said...

You have a lot to say to a broken and wounded church. Your words break through and burn off some of the fog that we have created through committees, proposed amendments, and rules. Keep writing.

mompriest said...

yeah...

I was 35 when I went to seminary...not the oldest, and surely not the youngest...had two kids in grammer school...it's tough. The kids (ah, my "seminary peers") then, fresh out of undergrad with seminary paid for in full...wow...not my reality...

so. well. I continue to return and read your story and hold you in whatever form of prayer I am capable of...because while my pain, grief, and sorrow are for very different reasons, they are none the less my feelings and my reality and I appreciate the courage,the trust, the vulnerablity you show in expressing how you are experiencing this time...

mompriest said...

Oh, and yeah...Tina Fey rocks...

Lisa :-] said...

We had an interesting moment at the cafe this morning... A woman walked in wearing a t-shirt with a HUGE picture of Sarah Palin o it. When I first saw it I thought it was a Halloween shirt with a pumpkin head on it. Got the pumpkin head part right, anyway...

Certainly you have no idea how to proceed...but it's obvious some part of you is working on this problem, and in time, you will know.

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

I do believe the death of a child is a catagory that stands by itself. Glad you had a moment of laughter and burnoff.

bean said...

I agree with the poster above ...the death of a child is it's own particular category. But I am glad that you are having some fogless periods of time.
and tina fey is having the year of her life...you can't ask for this kind of stuff.
I keep you in my best thoughts.

Anonymous said...

It's true, there is nothing to say.

You don't know me, but I've loved reading your blog for a while and I am praying for you now.

Sarah S-D said...

no words. just love from me to you.

oh... and thanks for tipping me off to mad men.

may burnoff come just when you need it, and fog descend again when you need that.

a blind flaneur said...

Isle Royale's fog-shrouded south shore is where I go to metabolize grief and find renewal. Clarity's blessing comes with time.