Saturday, 18 June 2011

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

I am tired. I always seem to be tired when I get around to posting here.

Things that are going on at the moment:

Confirmation preparation: This is fairly gentle, though not without some challenges. I read a book, go back and talk to the lovely grandfatherly priest who is helping me prepare. The service will be mid-October, sooner than I thought. I think we've talked about ordination as much as confirmation, now. It's wonderful to have the time and space to talk about some of this stuff.

Work balance, now: No, not work/life balance, though that could do with some thought as well. This is more to do with the balance of work that I do. As a freelance musician and teacher I need to make sure I keep on doing the long-term stuff, the practising and composing, as well as the various bits of more immediate, paid work. This hasn't been working so well recently and so I'm trying to do some practising that isn't linked to one of my "jobs" and some composing, each day. I find this harder if I don't have a routine, and at this point it's so long since I had one that setting one up is causing some difficulty. But I persist.

Work balance, later: I am a musician. Recent events suggest that I also have some sort of vocation to ordained ministry (oh, how many times on this blog or in comments elsewhere have I said "I don't think I have a vocation to ordained ministry"?)... but I'm pretty sure this is not instead of being a musician. And so I am going to have to figure out how to fit in music and ministry, practising and priesthood, composition and Communion. There are lots of part-time or house-for-duty posts kicking around the C of E these days and I think that is only going to increase. Where it might be more difficult to find a balance is during curacy; the training models all seem to assume NSM or full-time, neither of which are quite right for me. So I feel like some of the work balance stuff I'm trying to implement now is going to be important later, both in terms of having the habits of keeping the music up, and in terms of having something to show for being a musician, being able to legitimately say "Look, this isn't a hobby." Of course in all of this I am getting ahead of myself by many many years. Maybe I seem cynical, but observation of the Church Bureaucratic leads me to believe that it is worth at least thinking about these things.

My mother came to visit: we had a good week together. She started out, as always, saying she was mostly happy at home and not bothered by my stepdad any more. After a few days, as always, came the tears, the lamenting, the needing to be handled with kid gloves (he is unkind to her and she needs me to compensate by being extra nice), the dithering over whether she really should stay or go, the justifications of why she has stayed so far, the daydreaming about what would happen if he were not around any more. I've had twenty five years of this. It is tiring. This time, some of it put a few of my own experiences with my stepdad into a different perspective, which was unpleasant. Please pray, if you do, for my mother, and for my stepdad. I have particular difficulty praying for my stepdad.

I recently had an awkward Facebook request: it is from an uncle who I think molested me when I was a child and he was a teenager. There's a huge amount I don't remember. I feel sick when I try. But he has kids now, and I've realised I need to at least decide properly whether this is something to tell others in my family about, rather than just trying to file it away as no longer relevant. The knowledge of that has shredded my concentration and so since the request I've been getting very little done besides going to actual appointments. Sweetie is supportive but seemed a bit distressed even by the detail-free version I gave him, and I don't want to distress him further if it can be avoided. So I've arranged to talk to a trusted, much-loved friend about it on Monday. That will either make things clearer, or stir things up very badly indeed. There is nobody else in the whole world that I would rather talk to about this stuff, nobody I would feel safer with. I am dreading it.

My physical health: is middling. My joints aren't really appreciably worse, I can still do the things I need to do, but I've been needing more painkillers than I really like to take. In the last few weeks I've been getting bouts of physical fatigue, increased pain, and sometimes nausea, accompanied by swollen glands as if I'm fighting off a cold or 'flu, but I don't seem to get the cold or 'flu afterward. I guess I am fighting it off effectively. I can't tell how much of the nausea is thinking about things in the previous paragraphs.

On the whole it's all going well. I'd like to be physically in better shape, but all the other stuff -- it might feel unpleasant but it's growth, of a sort.

1 comment:

UKViewer said...


A virtual schedule of things, which seems to run as a theme through all you are doing and living through.

On the positive side, your confirmation preparation and your vocation seem active and in a word, vibrant. When thinking about what form of ministry might be possible, particularly with a musical bias, it struck me that this would be an ideal opportunity for Chaplaincy, perhaps one within a diocese or Cathedral with a good musical record, encouraging others, but also being their for musicians, musical training establishments and bit gigs and festivals.

This could be a form of Pioneer Ministry, where the curacy is worked out under the supervision of another Pioneer minister, but with employment doing the actual training for ministry in the role.
It seems to me that would be a deployment which might be worth exploring with the DDO in due course.

The health issues are an inhibiting factor to your work. If they are ongoing and long term, it seems to me that unless a cure is available, that you can only seek the best respite treatment available to allow you to continue to work and function as a musician.

The other issues you raise, I am not in a position to talk about here, but your proposed actions in sharing with a trusted friend seem a reasonable way forward.

Just as an aside, I shared some very similar issues of childhood mistreatment with my SD and as he was also trained as a counselor, he was able to help me with both healing and spiritually. Just saying, don't neglect what your SD is able to do, besides preparing you for confirmation?

I will continue to pray for your vocation and journey, which seems to me to be a seeking one, but one in which God is working through you as a conduit for others (Music Ministry) but also within you to prepare you for something more.