Last week I had an interview with my Bishop.
A few years ago, even writing that sentence would have reduced me to a gibbering wreck! Bishops, after all, are powerful people with huge influence over the fate of very junior curates who would rather like to remain in the diocese. Bishops have by definition got their act together theologically (at least enough to get by in most situations!). Bishops meet and mingle with the Great and the Good on a daily basis,- heavens, if Bishops aren’t the Great and the Good themselves, then I’m not sure who is!
And though I’m madly extrovert in terms of being inspired, excited and sustained above all by the people I encounter, I’m not actually particularly confident in many social situations,so I would have expected the prospect of an episcopal interview to strike terror.
Not a bit of it.
In fact, I was vaguely perplexed that those who knew where I was heading last Thursday afternoon wished me good luck before I went, and my uncharacteristic lack of fear was proved to be entirely reasonable. I didn't find myself the subject of an episcopal grilling because WonderfulBishop, who ordained me both as deacon and priest and honestly does represent for me, my “Father in God”, knows me very well. Somehow he has achieved this from a standing start, since he only appeared in this diocese a month before my diaconal ordination. I remember leaving my first encounter with him (on which occasion I’d arrived well and truly petrified…-after all, there seemed the distinct possibility that I might be “found out” and he would refuse point blank to ordain me!) feeling that in the space of an hour I’d been enabled to emerge from the protective social/professional mask and be myself, Kathryn. It felt, and still feels, perfectly safe.
Of course, when we spoke last week I didn’t burden him with graphic descriptions of life in the raw at the Curate’s house…he’s quite bright enough to imagine that for himself since he has teenagers of his own…but beyond that, there were no no-go areas. It was a genuinely positive encounter, which left me feeling absolutely OK with my place in the grand scheme of things.
Since then I’ve been reflecting on the wonder of being known as I am, and nonetheless tolerated, even loved. As an ENFP, I tend to share far more of myself than is probably either wise or desirable,- this blog is just another example! - and I’m always thrilled, delighted, and a little overwhelmed at the sheer gift of friends,- people who choose to spend time with me, for no good reason except, apparently, that they want to. Even though they know me.
I’m hugely blessed to know so many wonderful people…Just wanted to say that I do appreciate you. Truly. AND the Bishop!