The Inner Landscape

In the Closet

Last night I dreamed about trying to find something to wear.

I have these dreams every now and then, and usually they come at a time when I need to figure out who I am or how to play a new role in life. Yesterday I stopped by the church where I will work next and happened to arrive just as many people departed a fund-raising luncheon, which led to much hand-shaking, as well as introductions of Sam. To some people at that church, I'm a stranger, but to others I'm familiar for being active in the Association for many years, or as a columnist for the Religion page. The colleague I will work with in my new setting told the congregation about me on Sunday morning. "How many of you," he asked, "read the column yesterday about Molly?" Many hands went up into the air, and then he told them I would be the Interim Associate.

In my dream, I lived "above the shop," my residence in the complex with a church building, and I pulled hanger after hanger to see what I could wear in my new role. If you have these sorts of dreams, you'll know that you seldom find just the right thing! I took out what I thought would be a blue skirt and discovered instead it was an evening gown. Odd. What use could I have for this?

At First Parish, where I've been serving for almost a year, we'll all go through a change in relationship after the first of May, learning new boundaries and roles. But it won't be the usual Interim Minister's departure, because I'll be dividing my time between two churches for three months before moving full-time to the new position in August. I will be looking for a way to be present in both congregations without losing my mind and showing up at a bean supper or a chowder lunch in a blue silk gown!

I believe the keys to that three month period will be patience and trust. Patience may seem obvious. There will be days someone wants me that I will need to be at the other church, and that may feel frustrating, thus the need for patience. And we need to trust God, believing that this division of labor will have a purpose for all concerned, a model for a new way of being the church together.

And now, I must find something to wear today. I wonder what I will find in the closet?

7 thoughts on “In the Closet”

  1. I was half-time at two churches for a full year early in my ministry. One church’s activities/needs were in my calendar in red, the other in blue. When I look back at that calendar, I wonder “What mere mortal managed to DO all that?” So, when I read your post, all I could think of was how great it is that it’s only three months!
    Do take care of yourself though – that tendency to be pulled in every direction is definitely possible.

  2. “The keys will need to be patience and trust…” because, as you pointed out recently, you are not Jesus.
    Glad for the change. Glad for your thinking-ahead to how to manage it. Maybe you need some new clothes? Just saying!

  3. When I got my new minister boss, almost a year ago now, one of the personnel liaisons gave me a Guide to Welcoming your New Boss. It contained the advice that I should buy myself a new outfit to really ingrain the idea that I was beginning a new job. The liaison and I laughed and laughed at the old fashioned way of thinking about how to be a good secretary… but it was a hard change (in my mind I was always saying, “Well, Nancy did it this way!”) and even now I sometimes wear a different “outfit” as we discover new ways to work together in a way that benefits the church.
    Good Luck on the next three months! It will be exciting to see what lessons can be learned!

  4. I’m glad it was just a dream and that you can make useful meaning of it. Your dream though sounds much like my every morning in the closet! Blessings in your new role(s). I’m glad to hear the future is a little more certain.

  5. Comfortable shoes are never a bad choice. Good luck with the juggling in the interim and then with the new position!

  6. Oh my….the other thing you will need is our prayers….as Sue says, you will be BUSY…I like her idea of different colored pens for the calendar – except I use a Treo Palm…sigh…

  7. Well your dream was probably better than one where you would show up somewhere wearing NO clothes!

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