|from Google images - Remember blowing on these as children? How many breaths to send all seeds flying away?|
I am not (please note, Ros) responsible for other people's decisions, choices, actions, inaction, silences. There are a couple of situations where I've tried really hard to be heard. Not just for the sake of it. Because the issues were, and are, important.
There are distinctions. Our bishop said to us at synod this year, "Blame is unproductive." It's true. What is the fine line between blaming and holding someone accountable? Expecting a response, even if the response is no, not now, or never... I believe that applies to God as well. Who knows, the answer might be yes.
It's an old story. If I only do this, don't do that, say it this way, don't get angry, don't cry, cry, am good - really, really good, I will be taken care of. I will get what I need. I will be part of the family. I understand that a child's perceptions are neither the whole reality nor necessarily accurate. The perceptions govern our lives when we're little though if we don't feel safe and that we belong. Ot that belonging depends on the above. You know - being good, and all that stuff.
Things are falling away. A new level of understanding that goes deeper than my mind - that I'm not responsible. Except for my own behaviour. OK, so lots of you already knew all this about yourselves. You're more grown up? Ah well, as Sister Marjorie Raphael said once, many years ago, "We all have pockets of immaturity." I'm not the only one. ;-)
I can't change someone else. I can't even necessarily change a situation except for my own part in it. Lynda, my friend who lives in Wales showed me a project two years ago that led me to realize I needed to retire from Mile End Mission - that I was trying to do too much. (Understatement). The programme is called "circles of influence." What can I actually influence? Where do I have power and over what do I not have power or control? When am I butting my head against a wall? What and who are most important?
|from Google images|
I realized today, as I processed this with someone, that I can go ahead and do ministry where I am. At St. CHL. With Love in Motion and our new project we are beginning: Edible Community Churchyard - sharing our church green space with people in the community, working with the group Eco-quartier and two new neighbours who have a gardening business (what are the odds?) , with our Mission and CHL children and neighbourhood children... working with Trinity United Church in Rosemont. And yet, it feels like being on the fringes. Meantime, we move forward - we don't know our future. We minister in the present.
We had the most awesome, alive jazz mass and children's All Saints' service on Sunday. We've found people to help with it. Our congregation welcomes the children, and also appreciated that the children respected their need for quiet at times in the service.
Blame? I'm learning not to. Hope. Speak. Request. Institutions are what they are. Change is possible, but it ain't all my responsibility. I am my responsibility. How I respond and behave is my responsibility.
In a family sculpture exercise 20+ years ago, I discovered I was a child rushing in panic around the outside of my distracted, depressed, and grieving family trying to find a place to belong. It isn't my whole story. It is part of it. Knowing helps.
I need to let go of the desire to belong in ways that are not likely to happen, and recognize the ways and places in which I DO belong. Lee Udell, my CPE supervisor told me 25 years ago that when we can let go of what we most wanted in our families, we can find it in bits and pieces in other people and places.
|from Google images|
I like the quote I found in google images: "Life is a balance between holding on and letting go. Mmmm. A life journey.