Discernment

There is a Limit

Tonight the boys are taking advantage of my typical Sunday evening coma and the additional trial of a template meltdown for the RevGalBlogPals site to subject me to South Park. (No, I’m not linking to anything related to it.) While I’ve been trying to re-construct code and such for the RevGal’s sidebar, someone sneakily changed the channel from that guilty pleasure, Desperate Housewives, to the aforementioned abomination.
Now, I’m not square. Seriously. I mean, I praised Kanye West in my sermon this morning. I’m not a total nerdy loser mom.
But there is a limit.
And this is it.
Tonight’s episode featured a Christian band transforming love songs into songs about Jesus, and while I’ve heard there is a genre of “Jesus is my Boyfriend” music, which I am sure I wouldn’t like, this was icky. Maybe not as icky as the post at my old address, but icky enough.
I’ve sent them upstairs. I am now relaxing with Pretty Woman on TNT. I like Richard Gere. It’s been a long weekend. Sometimes the TV is a good companion.
Downstairs, we have a dryer that is burnt out. Have you ever had a vehicle or appliance break down and wonder if it was a metaphor for your life? It’s possible to take that sort of thing too far, but I would say it’s at least worth a looksee.
We are out of toilet paper, orange juice, paper towels and I’m sure many other things that a better organized mother would be sure to have stocked up even if she had spent her free afternoon waiting around for the dryer repairman.
We have no working dryer. The kids took their dirty clothes over to their dad’s house this afternoon while I attended a denominational meeting. I will be wearing jeans to work for the first time one day later this week, because there are some things I can hang dry, but there are others I can’t.
Friday we will get a new dryer. I wonder, is it really possible for a 27″ dryer to fit through a 27″ door? The salesman insisted it could happen. But I wonder, because there is a limit. And the limit is 27″.
Today at the denominational meeting, we heard the whys and wherefores about the large increase in our property insurance. The reasons sound good, but for Small Church, there is a limit. There is a limit to how much money a small congregation can raise, and when the health insurance and the building insurance and the property taxes all go up significantly in the same year, at the same time the price of the natural gas with which we heat is going to need an increase in the budget, too, how is there room for a full-time pastor?
There is a limit.
Don’t misunderstand me. No one is telling me to go. And, really, it’s time to go anyway. I’m not sad for me. I’m sad for the people of Small Church, so many of whom believe there is no future for the church without a fulltime clergyperson. They’re not right; I don’t believe they’re right. I think there is a great future ahead for them that will only be lighter and freer if they are not so weighed down by these worries.
All right, I’m a little sad. In the past three years, I’ve done everything I knew how to do, which granted was just a beginner’s bag of tricks combined with instinct (maybe some brains, too), to help this church find itself and grow. The sad part is that their right size, which I do believe we have found, is not the right size or shape for me.
So I begin to look around, feeling like a supposedly happily married woman who is reading the personals. (No, honey, I’m not actually reading the personals. But hurry home anyway!)
We’ve done some wonderful, wonderful things. I’m enormously proud of our Prayer Shawl Ministry and our connection to a group of South African women who are HIV positive. I’m prouder than I can say of the seven people who are helping me start a Lay Visitation Ministry, something that hasn’t been done formally in this church for twenty years or more. I’m proud of the Sunday School teachers who have done such good work, and the group that is calling for education and a vote to be Open and Affirming. Today I heard that we are 2/3’s of the way to our fundraising goal for new hymnals, and that reflects not pledges but checks in hand.
But…but I feel called to be talking about other things, to be moving in other directions. I feel limited by the psychic space and size more than the literal.
Richard Gere is climbing a fire escape. New beginnings are possible. He has the flowers between his teeth; he is reaching out to her. Where to? There are no limits.

18 thoughts on “There is a Limit”

  1. Oh, dear, dear Songbird, you are right: there are no limits.
    I have to believe for your sake and for the sake of the folks at Small Church and at St. Stoic too, and for my sake and for the sake of the whole world that There Are No Limits.
    You are in my prayers.
    (And I don’t know if it’ll make you feel better, but we’re out of bread, butter, lettuce, laundry soap, and paper towels.)

  2. Aw, don’t tell me that South Park is past your limit. I haven’t watched it in years, actually, but some of the funniest things I ever saw were on the first season or two of South Park.
    Seriously, though, Songbird, what an achingly lovely post about a moment that is so filled with limits… and possibilities.
    (And can I confess that I’m relieved to remind myself that your blog neighborhood will remain the same, even if your new beginning takes you somewhere else?)

  3. We have a fire escape? Where has that been hiding?
    Latest rumor: Thursday or Friday, which would mean that you’d see me on Friday or Saturday. Updates as they arrive.

  4. PL, I think you need to see Pretty Woman. Oh, and “Yippee!”
    FM, just what I was thinking, and I do believe that’s why authority has been such a compelling topic this past week (see below).
    Phantom, thank you. Same here.

  5. Thanks, Kathy and YT. And rm.
    I had a wonderful meeting today with a long-term mentor, very affirming and encouraging. I haven’t had a chance to write about it tonight at any length; perhaps tomorrow.

  6. This is a beautiful post and it tugged at something deep in me.
    There are no limits for God 🙂 but it is good you can see a path ahead. It may not be the one that small church wants for you – but if it’s the right road from God’s perspective – then I wish you God speed 🙂
    be blessed

  7. Beautifully written, Songbird. Sometimes I think the Methodists had it right – you stay in one place for a couple of years, do what you can, and then move on. It keeps one fresh and bring new perspectives to the congregation. Of course you lose the long ongoing relationships, but you get the opportunity to make new ones.
    You’ve done very special work here. I’ll say prayers for your discernment. I suspect God is tugging you towards something new.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.
    And for the record, although I’m not out of things, at least not right now, the house is far, far, far from clean.
    Peace, dear.

  8. Dear Songbird,
    I am guessing you will have moments filled with joyful anticipation along with the sense of loss and fear. And later, perhaps even regret sometimes too. (Even the Israelites waxed poetic about the Egyptians once they were out in the desert.)
    In all of it, though, God is tugging at your heart… beckoning.
    Which doesn’t make it any easier, darn it!
    You’ll be in my prayers!
    Love+
    Rachel

  9. Oh Songbird, it must be the season because I have been looking at my house over the past few days and wondering how my house could be so disorganized, in such disarray… It is particularly in moments like this that I wonder how I will ever have a child, but maybe there are no limits, as you said. Maybe my possibilities for organization and capacity to handle it will grow exponentially.
    Lovely post. I hope that whatever comes your way next will be a wonderful fit for all of you. And hey, if your search leads you to Boston, PS and I will be really really happy!!!

  10. I emailed our associate pastor your URL. I dunno how tech-savvy she is, so I dunno if she’ll pick it up or if she’ll contact you. If you get email from Karen Aitkins in Ferguson, MO and she says Lori sent her, that was me of the chocolate-fudge cake.
    If she does, get her to talk about her passion — the Phillipines.

  11. All good things come to an end. Doors will be opend, doors will be shut. Don’t you just live cliches? Discernment is not an easy thing. Prayers to you. And the template looks fine to me!

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