Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

So, I have been hard at work reading how to "Ace Grammar" to be ready for Greek, and learning my new notebook computer, and having lots of pastors tell me about a book or two, or more that I just HAVE to read. And in the midst of this, something totally unexpected. A suspicious mammogram. Totally not prepared for this. Now on the eve of the family vacation I find myself getting the referral forms from my doctor for diagnostic testing to determine the status of calcification on not one, but both sides. I come to learn that calcification will not usually be detected but through a mammogram. A year ago, there was nothing. Getting on my soapbox for a moment, this is ABSOLUTELY why women must have a mammogram every year- not everything can be detected by you! But, coming back to my tale, I need this testing soon, which has been defined as 18 days from now. As Tom Petty sings, "The Waiting is the Hardest Part." So I know nothing about calcification but while I wait for my doctor to get back from vacation, I learn that there are two kinds, macrocalcification ( which is rarely a concern) and microcalcification which is of concern because it is little spots of calcium that if they get into a cluster can be cancer. I have microcalcification. Hence new diagnostic testing, imaging, and possibly needle biopsy. And more waiting. But I am supposed to be starting seminary, this is God's plan, I say. If we are honest, even what we feel called to do, becomes "my plan" at some level. How dare something like breast cancer potentially wreck "my plan." And what about our kids, and what about what you would miss if the worst came to pass? I tell myself that this experience, even if it turns out to be nothing more than a test that turns out fine, will help me know what someone else is experiencing, and will allow me to be more pastoral someday, God willing. So, today, one day after getting the news that something could be something or it could be nothing, I assisted at a funeral. Resurrection victory notwithstanding, there was a moment where I caught my breath looking at the casket. But I am trying not to get ahead of myself. Be not afraid. Most of the time I can stick with that. In the meantime, I need to live life and enjoy that family vacation, and pray that God's hand is upon us.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Future of the Lower Susquehanna Synod.

After multiple ballots, we have a new bishop. Having served on the committee that counted ballots, 700 is a lot! There really is not enough time to discern whether someone is the person who should be the pastor of pastors. I know that although I heard things I liked, I heard things that concern me. As a person devoted to Lutheran confessional theology, I am unsure where we are headed in the LSS. I pray that the office shapes the person as much as the person shapes the office. In a time when the ELCA is ready to fly apart, I pray that our new bishop will be a leader and a shepherd who is committed to energizing the synod but also committed to remaining true to our core.

Where to Begin-We Walk by Faith

Last fall I finally stopped saying "no" to God's call to ministry. Thus I hurled myself into the great unknown concept of "retiring" from my first career as a lawyer and walking by faith. I now read the story of the disciples casting down their nets in a whole new light. I always wondered what their families must have thought when they announced they were leaving behind good jobs to follow Jesus. This is in fact what has happened. I have been a litigator for 19 years. Fellow lawyers have expressed envy that I can "just walk away." But the process of closing an office, attending that last hearing, telling clients of my decision has not been without watershed moments. I can only imagine what is like for the person for whom a job ending is not a choice but an imposition. And I had to end these things before I knew whether I would be given positive entrance by my church to begin study. Thank the Lord they did. And no matter how strong your faith, to tell someone who has viewed you as one person that you are about to become something very different has not been without great trepidation. I am blessed with family support, and a good life. Now I pray I can transition into school for the first time since 1988. Excitement, fear, and everything in between. We walk by faith.