I'm starting to think about winding down Ms. Kitty's and beginning a new venture blogwise. I'm phasing out ministry in my life (though trying not to limp too much as I make my way through my duck days) and thinking about the future, how I'll spend the summer once my contract with UUCWI is completed, how I'll accomplish the move to my new locale, and what I'll do once I'm there.
The new blog will not be about ministry or religion or politics or anything like that. My son has asked me to write some posts about our early family life together and I would like to grant that request. I also have some life issues I want to sort out in writing, I want to feel free to gripe about characters who bug me, and I want to take off the mantle of ministry before I do that.
I remember my ordination day---a hot May Sunday afternoon in an un-airconditioned church there in Colorado. One of the rituals in a UU ordination is the laying on of hands; we do it in a very big way. First the minister leading the ritual asks the ordinand to kneel, then invites family members to come forward and place their hands on the shoulders of the ordinand. Next invited are colleagues, then every person in the congregation is invited to reach out to touch someone who is touching someone who is touching someone who is touching the ordinand.
That's a lot of hands in contact with the newly ordained minister---for a reason. Ministry means you are serving a whole lot of people all at once----your congregation, for sure, their family and friends indirectly, people you meet on the street or grocery store or bus, your friends and family, and just about everyone you come in contact with. As long as someone knows you are a minister, you are in service to that person and must remember that, even when it seems unfair or impossible.
As I knelt that day with all those hands weighing me down in the 90 degree heat, I was acutely aware of the responsibility those hands were placing on my shoulders. I couldn't possibly know at that time just what kinds of responsibility I was taking on, but I had a lot of energy at the time and was prepared to accept it.
After these 12 years of active ministry, mostly without much private life, always on call to a congregation, always curbing my tongue, being careful about what I said, tiptoeing around extra-sensitive people, thinking always of the institution I represent, I am ready for a break. I am going to shed the mantle of ministry for awhile and focus on a private life in which I have my weekends, in which I have no deadlines for newsletters or sermons or meetings to attend.
I'll use the new blog to write about my new life, look back at old parts of my life, and do some self-assessment about the paths I might explore. I won't be publicizing the name and URL of the new blog; it will be available only to close friends and family members.
In the meantime, this blog will be active until at least the end of June. I still have more to say from a ministry point of view!