Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mule Country

Maybe it’s a product of growing up in the Mule Capitol of the World, but I definitely have some mule-like qualities. For those who don’t know their mule facts—one of the most basic is that they are unbelievably stubborn. If you know me well, you’re probably thinking—“I know where this is going.” And you would probably be right. Case in point, this last week at conference I had a fellow pastor approach me after a luncheon. He and I had met about 6 weeks ago at the District meeting and have seen each other in passing a few times since. After the luncheon he said, “I know how difficult it is to be a pastor, how hard it is for all of us. And for you, as one of the few (fewer than 17) young adult clergy, I want to be as supportive as possible. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. If it’s talking to someone who hardly knows you or if you need a Starbucks’ card, just give me a call and let me know.” I was overwhelmed at his offer. While I hardly know the man, he is one of those that resonates with me for whatever reason. He has the kind of spirit I feel I can trust without reservation. And then the mule in me rears her head! As desperately as I have wanted and needed such support over the last year, I know myself and know it would have to be REALLY bad before I would call. On one level, that’s not the way I want it to be—I would love to be able to have the support and encouragement he was offering. On the other level not asking for help (a.k.a. asking for/receiving grace) is probably one of my larger sins. I can be a real bruta in this regard. Only a few months ago I was in a spiritual and emotional desert—I was pretty close to bottom and at random a retired clergy friend of mine called. He and his wife had been at a retired clergy meeting (where they had found my name on the retired clergy list) and one of the things that was highlighted at the meeting was the high “drop-out” rate for young clergy (especially women). He and his wife were alarmed at the statistic and hated to think that something similar might happen with me. So they were calling to offer support—for me to tell them if there was anything they could do for me. I stood there, tears streaming down my cheeks, and could not muster one ounce of courage to tell him how badly I was hurting, how desperately I needed their support as listening ears for the trials and pain I was experiencing.

I realize I should make it a goal to ask for help more often and to not wait so long in doing so. (Ask me how excited I am to make such a change)! As I sit here typing, my little girl is looking at me quivering, ready for my nod of approval for her to approach and get her dose of “lovin”. She is so uninhibited in her petitions. If she wants some love and attention, she walks over and gets it. Sometimes she waits for the nod and sometimes she whimpers until I attend to her needs. Maybe the lesson I need to learn begins here with my pooch—maybe everything I need to learn will come from my dog! (She can re-train me from what the mules taught).

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