July 2021 Check-In: How are you?
Even though I was in an intensive hospital chaplaincy program last summer, I somehow still found time to write down my thoughts.
But this summer, those thoughts have (largely) been channeled into the work of my full-time church internship. Between bi-weekly sermons, Bible study, and pastoral visits, any passing reflection has found its way into the life of the parish I’m serving.
And that’s a wonderful thing. But it has made me feel guilty for not “serving” the blog the way I’d like. I feel like I’ve been keeping my experiences a secret from the wider world.
But maybe that’s the way it should be. It’s so much more gratifying to function at the local level. To receive feedback from a person you’ll see every Sunday. To argue about the issues with someone who lives just own the street.
The truth is, as much as I loved my hospital chaplaincy experience (and as much as it has shown up again and again in theological conversations and sermon illustrations), parish ministry really does feel like the whole package. It feels like home.
Maybe that shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it has. After all, I’ve taken quite a lot of risk to pursue this path. But actually being embedded in the work of the church as a not-quite-ordained person has been humbling and intensely meaningful.
I will really miss this place that has been a temporary refuge. It has been a place to learn, rest, and grow in the midst of ongoing chaos in the world and in my personal life.
The Summer of Anxiety
I have dealt with some of the worst anxiety of my life this summer. And I have to credit it to the pandemic.
I’m not that worried about contracting Covid anymore, since I was fully vaccinated by the end of May. But reentering the physical world after more than a year on Zoom has been exhausting, socially weird, and overwhelming in every way.
This time has brought up a lot of old pathologies. Things from my childhood that I thought I had resolved. Confronting them head-on has seemed like the only way forward. So I’m working on it.
Links and Things
I have moved most of my theological work to my old blog, leahwise.com. It feels like a more cohesive place for it. You can read sermons and essays there.
I’m interested in watching this documentary on the history of Gay Conversion Therapy (because it’s terrible and Christians need to speak out against it).
I’ve been reading The Book of Longings. A controversial premise, to be sure, but it has been an effective way to immerse myself in first-century Jewish life.
I found curvy, straight leg jeans that fit me really well (and they run long!).
Haze from Western fires is still dramatically impacting air quality on the east coast.
Daniel and I just rewatched The Social Network and dang, it’s no wonder Facebook is so corrupt. It started out that way.
I have become obsessed with the idea of learning to razor cut my own hair thanks to stylist, Jayne Matthews (she offers classes for non-hairstylists!). See how I’ve been cutting my hair during the pandemic.
Sustainable school supplies are a thing.
People keep bringing up Saint Thérèse of Lisieux this summer. I had never heard of her, but I’m convinced I need to learn more about her now. Here’s a prayer attributed to her (that was actually written by Minnie Louise Haskins):
May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
How are you?