18.5.11

black eye, fat lip


i've been training for ordained ministry in the church of england for the last 20 months.

so, here's the deal.

the last 20 months have almost been too much to bear at times. sometimes there has been laughter, but, in the main, this has not been a good experience.

there.

i said it out loud.

it's very difficult to write about this, which, as i've said a few times over the last little while, is why the blog is so blank at various points.

why is it difficult? well i might get in trouble for saying i didn't like it. and, tbh, i don't want to be a complete whinger. and i have also spent a lot of time trying not to blame myself for this being shit. i discovered that people generally fit into two categories in this place: that of saying 'you're wrong' (or the 'screw you' rebel) to the institution, or (imho the more damaging one) saying 'i'm wrong' (or the 'screwed up' victim) to your inner self. none of that self-help 'i'm ok/you're ok' fluffy stuff for us.

i really wanted to find another way actually - i never wanted to be a 'screw you' kind of person, but it turned me into a 'screwed up' kind of person to try to find that other way.

and perhaps this will make me a good priest in ways i cannot imagine right now. i really do hope so. cos the conversations with people in the dark corners of a room, in the dark corners of my heart or my mind, the anger and the pain and the exhaustion at trying to be me in a place that could not give me the room i needed to be me, all of that has been the formation that i got. never mind the imaginings, the expectations, this is what it has been.

i'm not bitter (sometimes i am angry, but it is dissipating fast), it has been what it has been, and it could not have been anything other than what it was. it just didn't have the capacity. and now, i am what i am because of it. a bit battered and bruised i suppose. i have found that i have some old old friends who can cope with what i am and don't blame me for being different to what people expect from someone coming out of this process. i even have some new friends who have the depth of being to walk with a new friend and receive me as i am. i have quickly discovered that some will always want to 'fix' you. that's annoying. as a priest i will remember this. my congregation will not be my 'project'.

i am lucky. God is still there (er...sometimes)

and in a little while i will be ordained in the church of england. alongside some who loved me, who hated me, some who tried to love me, but who found it was too difficult, some who hugged and some who punched me, some who bit and kissed me.

and i will love them. and i will love you.

this is what i learned in my priestly formation.


3 comments:

Rach said...

...standing in those liminal places... this is what we are called to...sounds like you have been prepared. x

Christine said...

It has been a privilege to meet you, Jody. I am very fond of people who dare to be real. You're an inspiration. Despite knowing it can be very painful, I hope I'll get there one day. xx

chandy said...

Amazing!

and amazing that you're carrying on.