Deep Breaths … first in a series of mid-January 2013 reflections

I am wondering why I still dwell on some things so often.
For example, after someone misinterpreted something about me as
ungrateful I was stunned and although it is months ago I still
dwell on it daily. Yet, I can not sacrifice my authentic self in
order to convince others that I live a life full of gratitude. Even
my grateful self is sometimes tired, exhausted, sad, challenged,
frustrated, and even angry. And, just because I have gone through
much more challenging times in my life does not mean that the work
and stress of going through a full-time Master’s degree program
while also attending to my family is not hard at times, and my
authentic self is going to let others around me know that. It’s
part of me. If my mind is on a particularly hard test or
challenging paper and I trust you / the space enough to share that,
I believe that is a good thing. My life does not seem to grow when
I need to remain guarded. It’s OK to be vulnerable and two of my
biggest goals for 2013 is to work on being more open to
vulnerability and to continue to grow more fully into being and
expressing my authentic self without.

Currently it is Jterm for
Wartburg Seminary students. This year both Shawn* and I are taking
a course on Domestic Violence that includes a trip to Chicago, two
days in Madison, and many local Dubuque speakers as well as
readings to reflect and discuss in class. I will likely bring some
of my reflection here, while others is too personal for the blog.
Before taking the class I heard many students say that it was the
single most useful class for ministry/pastoral care that they took
while in Seminary. I agree. The class has and continues to be very
powerful. We just finished our Chicago and Madison travel this week
(Chicago one week and Madison the next), so at this point we are
exhausted physically and emotionally and yet we keep going. This is
what I imagine ministry to be like at times. We/I need to practice
good self care and spiritual renewal so that I am ready for the
times when I just need to keep on keeping on. Fall 2012 Semester
was like that. It was a good semester in general with the family
maintaining general good health (although Nessa, 7, was/is going
through some challenges including frequent insomnia), and yet, many
days were simply keeping on keeping on days. It may have been
evident from the lack of posts to this blog that some thing was up.
I actually did some amazing things this semester such as start a
Diaconal Minister Facebook group (& now I need to promote
additional activity there), do some work that included interviewing
students and alumni, … and made lots of soup 🙂 But the writing
just would not come in many areas. I came back from summer CPE
simply worn out on writing, especially reflective writing. I am
finding that I now need to become intentional in order to fit it
back into my daily life routine.

Over Christmas vacation I did not
write or read AT ALL but rather rediscovered crafting, particularly
crochet, as well as did A LOT of baking (gluten free bread and
desserts) and cooking (especially soup!). It was wonderful. As was
the family time. I want to hold on to just a bit of that while
returning to this intentional written reflection (& sharing
of the journey) as well as balancing other aspects of wellness.

The
last half of January will be a good time to experiment with all of
this intentionality prior to second semester starting in February.
Today I find myself particularly grateful for my husband and that
he is taking this journey with me. It has been a challenge but more
often a huge blessing to share classes together along this seminary
journey. Love and belief — and official Happy 2013 (just a little
belated 😉

*For new readers, my husband, Shawn, is also a full-time
student, but in the MDiv program. You can follow his journey at
leavingmyselfbehind.wordpress.com

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One thought on “Deep Breaths … first in a series of mid-January 2013 reflections

  1. By the way if the formatting sucks it is because to get it written quickly I am using my ipad WordPress App … Not so great.

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