Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Miles behind myself...

In the midst of a rather startling run of funerals, I just want to flag up the thing that is currently very clear to me after my ministerial review.

Friends and regulars here will know that I spend alot of time making noises about my hopeless inefficiency, the state of the study floor and the impossibility of ever keeping up with myself. I looked at this head on with my rather wonderful review colleague (WRC) yesterday and we came to the conclusion that actually it's a non issue.

Things get done.

Sometimes there's a bottle neck of pressure because the way that they are done doesn't match my perception of how they OUGHT to be done, and too many busses arrive at the stop at the same moment - but they are generally perfectly OK, sometimes even better than OK.
WRC has suggested that I build in a periodic admin catch up day, designed to prevent me from reaching the rabbit-in-headlight stage of administrative terror (though we both realise that there's every possibility that this might go by the board if something more interesting/pastoral comes up) but really the only issue is the self-inflicted angst as I fall short of an ideal of incumbency that is, when all is said and done, based on a very different context - my training parish, where there was an army of able supporters to implement (and indeed come up with) any number of bright ideas and new strategies that the vicar might desire - and a paid administrator to see that the paperwork got done to boot.

So yes, it's good when I get things done promptly and without drama - and because it's hard for me, I award myself all sorts of notional gold stars on these rare occasions...but actually being me and doing things my way isn't a disaster either. On the whole, I think people feel loved and are comfortable to see and trust me as their priest, and I'm happy that there is growth and warmth in both congregations. That's not the whole story, of course, and there are all sorts of hopes and dreams and aspirations - some of which will be God's dreams for these places and some of which will be just my wild ideas...but there's plenty of time to watch them grow or let them wither, and it will, actually, be alright because
I do know, with all my heart, that I'm where I should be.

As for the unrealistic, perfectionist expectations...time to quote The Cloud of Unknowing again

"Not what thou art, nor what thou has been, but what thou wouldst be beholdest God in his mercy"

But (if it doesn't seem ungrateful) because I'm still Kathryn, even in this startling moment of clear sight, I'd really value your prayers that I don't find myself at the crem prepared for the wrong funeral on any of the next several days...It's a very long time since I've had so many on the trot, and I'm genuinely concerned that this is a possibility.


Song in my Heart said...

As I've noted previously, though perhaps not so explicitly:

I would rather you write a sermon late on a Saturday night because you've been attending to pastoral things during the week than see you with your sermon done and dusted but having turned someone away who really needed your help then and there.

I do think that being more organised might make you feel a bit more in control of things, and insofar as that might mean fewer hours spent in rabbit-in-headlights mode that's probably a good thing. But in your next post along you talk about acknowledging our helplessness and our dependence on God, and about God's unconditional love for us. You will never, EVER have complete control over your schedule. And that's a very, very good thing.

FWIW, I consider myself pretty disorganised most of the time and I have to put a lot of effort into chaos reduction. But at my most organised I feel better, not because I think I am in control, but because I am more free to deal with uncontrollable and unpredictable events with flexibility.

gloriousthings said...

We love you the way your are! If you were the perfect administrator then you would not have time to be with all those grieving families that need you right now. Prayers that you get the right names on the right days. Promise me that at the end of this 'run' you will be kind to yourself and take a proper sabbath.