Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pooped But Recuperating


I feel as if I am recovering from an emotional/spiritual marathon. So this is my new morning routine: back to bed with a book, a latte and Max.

I'm definitely recovering but I found that just because I resigned from a job, didn't mean I could just resign from everyone's life. So in the three weeks after I officially left my staff position, I visited folks in the hospital and officiated at two funerals. In between that I tucked in a lecture and workshop in Denver. And a reading San Jose. And a reading in Seattle.

It's all glorious work, even the funerals--especially the funerals because I know how different it is to have an officiant who actually knew (and loved) the deceased. One of these people was a woman I visited the very first week I worked at the clinic. She was amazing and fun and I looked forward to seeing her every week. It's still hard for me to believe that she is dead.

I promised her years ago, that I would do her funeral and just because I was no longer officially working, didn't mean I would break a promise. After she died, another long-time patient died and then I felt as if all the loose ends were tied up. And last weekend was my last speaking engagement and I am grateful for that.

So Monday I went to a mandatory "Boundary Training" that is required of all UCC clergy. My initial attitude was quite whiney, "W-a-a-h, why do I have spend an entire day learning that I shouldn't sleep with parishioners. I already know that and besides, I don't even work in a church!"

But I decided to change my attitude precisely because I couldn't stand myself being such a brat for eight hours. Instead I said to myself, "There is something in this for me. I'll go into it expectant with my palms up and my hands outstretched." I think this is a pretty good way to go through just about anything because it changes your perspective immediately. Instead being petulant (which feels good for about ten seconds) I became curious, wondering what piece of wisdom I would bring home.

ANYway, the most important learning for me was that clergy are very good at running on imitation energy and we are very bad at saying, "No." They talked about how we can appear to be very energetic and present, but actually be completely empty inside. And how if we continue to do this, we are heading for destruction.

I so related to that. There were times when I was asked to see a patient and I just didn't have the energy but I would do it anyway. Because it's hard to turn down a nurse. Because this is my calling. Because I didn't want to ruin my reputation of being responsive. Because I'm a pleaser, etc.

But now I see how dangerous that was and how I was getting quite crumbly around the edges, like the last cookie in the bag. So now I'm in the recuperation phase, hence reading in bed with Max and a latte. What's even better is that Wes makes the latte for me.

I'm also happy to report that I've said no to two things that I really did not want to do. I was asked by two different agencies to do "The Ask" at their fundraiser luncheons. I hate asking for money. I really do. I really support both these agencies and even offered to be the keynote speaker at one. But in a very healthy and definite way, I absolutely refused.

Yay! for me.

1 comment:

Alfonso said...

Hi Debra,

I attend this morning's bchp meeting in downtown Seattle I was so insipred by your speech and got me so motivated in life . You're an amazing person and wanted to talk to you in person, but people were all over you perhaps you don't remember me but i was the Latino dude wearing the blue strip shirt on the front row . I also work for SCCA as a Financial Counselor and i can relate when you talk about cancer patients in how each has their unique story. I would like to meet in person one of these days and i do work closey with one your co-
Chaplins at the SCCA. Once again thank yo so much