Thursday, March 6, 2008


Yesterday was an epic of overlapping meetings -- leave one early to reach the next one, LATE.
A rush downtown in the morning to drop off critically important paperwork -- and to be told, "Oh this isn't the right format, there's a form you have to fill out" -- this, mark you, after we had worn our nervous systems to shreds trying to find mutually acceptable wording. NOWHERE on paper or online was "The Form You Have to Fill Out" ever mentioned. I guess it was A SECRET. However this cavil was overruled.

On to the next meeting with a stop at the Golden Arches (I know, I know...). This meeting --an ecumenical one-- was one of those where nobody can hear anything unless he or she has uttered it. And the modus operandi is Advanced Dithering. There were no minutes. There was no agenda, except a scribble on paper in front of the Chair.

One piece of paper was circulated -- a report on donations to the ecumenical Christmas-season charity, "No Room in the Inn." Within the organizing committee, donations are reported parish-by-parish; for public consumption, they are lumped by denomination. The NRII Committee had sent their report in the latter format to executive first for approval of release to general membership. Three members of the executive explained that to the remaining three, one at a time and then in unison. To which, I finally said, "SO MOVED." And they all moved away from me there, on the bench, as though I had blasphemed...and continued their antiphonal ditherings.

I am not patient. Not at all. And though I know I am overly task-focussed and not nearly people-sensitive enough....SHEESH, you guys!

After lingering in a few more Gumption Traps (the same ones, every meeting) we escaped and went our separate ways.

On to the next gathering, far side of the city, and a moment of sheer glee as I for once Guessed Right on how to make the best use of the new ringroad system here in Prairie Metropolis. I committed myself to what I thought might be the most appropriate exit and within a few hundred yards it dropped me right into the churchyard I was looking for...for our monthly area-clergy meeting. Too late for Eucharist, too late for lunch, but there was still coffee and "sharing" and it was comfortable amongst colleagues.

Off and away again at 3 o'clock over a much less accommodating route, to an auxiliary hospital/nursing home for monthly communion service. Big congregation -- twenty-two of us counting volunteers. MHU's faithful early-service organist provides accompaniment for our hymns at this hospital. Because he abominates the standard songbook, we often have at least one splendid warhorse hymn on a separate piece of paper.

There are days when I think I may just possibly have grown in the ministry. The hospital services paralyzed me when I started out. At this point, though, they look more and more like the treat at the end of the day -- especially a day like yesterday!!! We have a very brief and very very simple liturgy. Three familiar hymns. Distribution of communion from the reserved sacrament. And I read a little bit of the Gospel, and talk about it very lightly. I tell funny stories. I have been known to tell the whole plot of a movie (don't tell my Homiletics professor). I recount what the children said last Sunday during children's focus. And I share the peace with everybody, and I give everybody communion (all those who are awake, at least), and I TOUCH EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM before they leave! And look them in the eye! And SMILE!

Some things get easier. Thanks be to God.

And after supper my Daughter Unit came over for tea and we tackled one de-cluttering job...trying to keep the SSS at bay (Senior Squalor Syndrome).

Sat up late watching Rex Harrison and the luminous Kay Kendall et al. in The Reluctant Debutante. A decent night's sleep and most of the snow that fell overnight has melted away again.


Jan said...

Your recent posts remind me of many of the Psalms--complaining and then praise! It's always nice to get to the end of the post and know that your ENTIRE day was not so difficult. So glad you keep posting.

Auntie Knickers said...

As a church office person, I believed it was only my two ministers who went to too many meetings, and that people (synods, etc) were taking advantage of them. But maybe it's all clergy who have to go to too many meetings? I can see how the hospital would look pretty good after a day like that.

Ruby said...

Advanced Dithering! That would sum up my meetings of the last few weeks.

Kathryn said...

What is it with ecumenical meetings? Ours are just the same...But, you know, by the time I got to the end of this post I was just smiling and smiling. It may have been wearing but what alot of reality and joy you found along the way. Thanks for posting :-)