It's been ONE of those kind of weeks. One, in this case, where I need to (re)learn and hear again to practice what I preach. Don't you hate when that happens?! When your own words - while not repeated verbatim - get shared with you in practice.
Its' been a tough week - no, not just week, really couple of months. My husband Michael's health and breathing has been getting worse (abridged version: chronic rejection of lung transplant from over 18 years ago due to repeated infections and the like over at least the past 10 years has put us on that path for a 2nd transplant; needless to say, his breathing is diminishing bit by bit everyday). Each day has presented its own challenges, but I have kept that "stiff upper lip" and been "strong" for him. I have tried to keep some sense of normalcy - at least for me - each day. But you can only keep that up for so long.
On Sunday afternoon, Michael got me to finally let my guard down and let all my fears and sorrow come rushing out. While still feeling numb and with eyes red, we went to a dinner with some of our Affirmation (Confirmation) parents where I kept it together through dinner until our time drew to a close. When I chose to share some of what was going on with Michael, the tears flowed again. I was vulnerable with those who are often vulnerable with me.
The response was so affirming and supporting. Hugs and tears were shared as their compassion washed over us. So, first of all - thank you for your support, prayers and love - Sue, Irene, Charlie, Cyndi, John, Inez, Dawn, Debbie, Agnes, Kat, Albert, and Joy. And thank you for reminding me - not just that I am human - but what it means to be a part of a community.
It didn't just stop there - the ongoing support and response (from the offer of meals and cleaning among other things) continues. I am especially thankful to Dawn for re-forming me during this time for a new and deeper appreciation for community and for this community in particular.
While pastors are "set apart" in this particular vocation we are still part of a community. While I will often encourage others to allow friends and family to minister to them, I am not always good about letting others in to share the same with me. Our humanity and vulnerability can be important to community building.
I'm still (re) learning this - but for now, I thought I would share how I have begun to be (re)formed through all of this.
P.S. if any would like to follow Michael's progress, you can go to www.caringbridge.org and look up Michael Boyd