Not a good day

17 10 2007

Received two bad pieces of news today.

I work as an Executive Assistant at a financial services firm and have worked for the same man for about 4 and a half years now. He’s very very difficult (think the movie Wall Street or the book Barbarians at the Gate) and has had a high turnover rate in his office before i came along. I handle his personal affairs and there is another assistant to handle his business affairs. The bad news is that he is submitting a bad year-end performance review. The past three years I have received very good ones and have also received nice year-end bonuses. When we sit down and go over the results of the review, I plan on having some rebuttal points for us to talk through. It’s just icing on the cake for a very tough month at the office anyway… i have been way way too busy and stressed to do things i really enjoy like writing these lectionary reflections and blogging, as well as doing church stuff or going to the gym. Grrrrr……

The other piece of bad news is that I heard from my diocese today regarding my discernment application. They want me to withdraw from the process for one or two years and, amongst other things, get more experience doing ministry type stuff (never mind my parish is like my second job), see a psychiatrist and a spiritual advisor, and save up more money for seminary. Saving more money and seeing a spiritual advisor are good things in and of themselves, but i question the whole psychiatrist thing and the experience stuff. I mean i’m on the altar guild, our outreach committee, and i started and co-ordinated refreshments for our Sunday evening service! And no offense, i’ve yet to meet anyone in the ministry who isn’t a little off. Who wants a boring priest?

I know things happen for a reason, and everything will sort itself out in the end, but it’s definitely one of those “what’s the point” kind of days.

UPDATE: I have commented below on what my next steps are to be

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21 responses

18 10 2007
Doorman-Priest

Deep commiserations on both counts.

In relation to the first issue, if you go in well prepared and with evidence things should resolve. Maybe he was having a bad day and in the feedback session may reappraise his own response.

In relation to the second, Its good that you can see some positive outcomes but when I read it it was like a punch in the gut. I know exactly how I would have felt as my process to this point has not been straight forward.

Please tell me that the psychiatric assessment is a common process to all potential ordinands and not something linked to sexuality.

I really feel for you brother. At least it’s not a straight “NO” and at your age, although it is a frustration, it isn’t the end of the world. Even so I’d be feeling a touch shitty today in your shoes.

Thoughts and prayers.

E-mail if you want to get more off your chest.

D.P.

18 10 2007
Cecilia

I’m sorry you are going through this Reverend Boy. Prayers for you.

Go into the performance review as centered as possible, as non-anxious as you can muster (same with churchly interviews).

Also, re the church piece, are you assigned a mentor in the process? Maybe that person can be a good sounding board for you, and also speak on your behalf to the committee/ commission.

Pax, C.

18 10 2007
Pisco Sours

I’ve been on the receiving end of some job-related setbacks recently, and I know how frustrated and ARRRRRGH! you must be right now. Email or IM me if you want to talk about this some more.

18 10 2007
Counterlight

Smacked on one side of the head by by Mammon, and by the Church on the other.
Hang in there kid and don’t let the bastards get you down.

18 10 2007
Bill

Having been in therapy for quite a few years I feel I can comment on this. One of the things I learned along the way, was that I’m not unique. I survived a suicide some four years ago and spent some time in group therapy. After hearing the stories of other people I realized that my life wasn’t so bad. In fact it was fairly good. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own little lives and problems that we lose sight of the big picture. Having a therapist is like a pressure valve. It’s my one hour a week when I can talk about anything and everything. I actually look forward to it.

I hear what you are saying with regard to all the things you’re involved with. I too am on the altar guild. I’m also working with the assistant for pastoral services making home visits as a Eucharistic Minister. I’m also involved with an evening prayer group and I’m a lay reader. My therapist said, “Very nice, but when do you have time for just yourself.” She was right of course. I had no time for myself.. She wants me to start saying “NO” to people. Not all the time mind you but she doesn’t want me to be an automatic “YES”.

That’s the value of a therapist. They look at things from a different perspective and they’re usually looking out for your own good.

18 10 2007
Grandmère Mimi

Reverend Boy, I am so sorry about troubles piling on you. I will pray for you.

I look forward to seeing you in New York. We’ll cheer you up from this life’s-a-bitch moment. Sometimes life really is a bitch.

God bless you.

18 10 2007
Lee (caminante)

Sorry to hear your news. I was given a ‘no, not yet,’ recommendation from my parish committee oh so many years ago. It crushed me at the time, especially since it seemed as though members were talking about themselves (a bunch of academics telling me to finish my PhD and get out academia for a while). In retrospect, it probably was for the better. Anyway, hang in there. I echo the others in saying re the job to be as much of a non-anxious presence as possible. Prayers.

18 10 2007
Mrs. M

I’m so sorry to read this. I was granted postulancy not too long ago, but there were some reservations that I thought were a little bizarre. I can sympathize, and offer the thought that sometimes the COM really is strange. If I hear “trust the process” one more time (while knowing a few very untrustworthy people heavily involved in the process), I’m going to go round the bend.

18 10 2007
Lisa Fox

I don’t have wise words, but can send you a big, virtual hug. I got a lousy job review once, too, and it was pretty devastating.

18 10 2007
Jarred

Bummer on both counts. You have my sympathies.

18 10 2007
--sheila--

Hugs from here, too. I’m wondering if he wrote the lousy review so he can justify not giving you the bonus (is the business hurting from the financial services downturn?). In any case, do what you can and remember that this is an aberration, given so many other positive reviews.

I also know a lot of people who have had start/stop experiences with discernment committees. My big Bugaboo way back when I was considering it was hearing that the diocese was going to do a credit check on everyone in the process. Good thing none of the disciples owed anyone any money. Take care!

18 10 2007
episcopalifem

((((Rev Boy))))

Ugh. I’m sorry. This is sucky.

Try to keep your chin up. I”m looking forward to seeing you Monday!

18 10 2007
terri c

Sounds like an AWFUL day. Sending good wishes to you.

18 10 2007
susan s.

Sorry these things usually hit all at once. Hang in there.

Doorman-Priest regarding your question
“Please tell me that the psychiatric assessment is a common process to all potential ordinands and not something linked to sexuality.”

It is a common process to all potential ordinands in our diocese and I believe in all the Episcopal Church. Whether this is Reverend boy’s case I don’t know.

(((Rev boy)))

18 10 2007
Aghaveagh

sending you beams of morale (and moral?) support. Chin up and Illegitimi non carborundum!

18 10 2007
Alcibiades

Hang in there – it’s only the ones who actually have something to offer that get kicked around. The people who sail through these processes all too often turn out to be the priests (and people) you would never want to be.
My prayers are with you.

18 10 2007
Reverend boy

Thanks to everyone for their encouragement, and i appreciate the MadPriest for pointing you all over here.

Regarding the bit about my bad review, the only thing i know to do is to continue to do what i believe is an outstanding job and provide my own feedback and rebuttals in mid-December.

The news from the diocese, I don’t mind saying, came as a huge blow because it was sooo out of left field. My priests (who were copied on my letter) were taken totally by surprise, as well. After a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth, we are going to visit the Canon for Ministry next week to determine exactly why the Bishop came to his conclusion and if we can get the decision reversed. I believe I am called to be a priest in the Episcopal Church, have jumped through more hoops and been more than patient with “the process” than most people would, and I am committed to seeing this process through to the end.

Convincing me that the best thing to do is to wait, however, is a very hard sell without concrete supporting evidence. A very hard sell indeed.

18 10 2007
Kirkepiscatoid

Sigh. Kicked in the left butt cheek, then kicked in the right. My prayers are with you.

About 15 or so years ago I had to go through a serious discernment process about my future when well meaning but not entirely correct people tried to make me feel that my choice was the wrong one, and that my failure at a major hurdle was “the answer” for me to take another fork in the road. As it turns out, they were wrong; that failure was an object for me to refocus my energies to succeed the next time that hurdle was placed in front of me. Even if they hold their ground on that year or two off, that time may be a true opportunity to refocus, so you clear the hurdle with plenty to spare the next time it is placed in front of you. Hang in there!

19 10 2007
learnerpriest

Joining in a bit late here, but wanted to add my voice to the general melee of hugs and reassurance.

I first knew I was supposed to be ordained at about the age of 14, and finally made it through the process to my ordination as deacon earlier this year. The route through took in several false starts, two attempts at seminary, and a nervous breakdown.

My intention is not to make you feel more depressed! Quite the opposite – the point is that I was absolutely bloody certain I was on the right path. At times I was the only person who thought so. Trust the inner voice. Eventually the Church and your bishop will catch up. The God who is calling you is faithful.

But look after yourself, too – and as Counterlight said, don’t let the bastards get you down.

23 10 2007
Troy

Better late than never, eh? I hear this sort of thing so often, and it breaks my heart. My road to the priesthood felt like open heart surgery without anesthetic, took more than ten years of being told ‘gee, you’d make a great therapist’, etc. Discouragement does not even come close to the inner crisis, the disillusionment, etc. Sometimes I think that one needs to have OCD to make it through the process, that or you have ‘connections’.

The thing that I continue to learn, if you’ll indulge me, is that Spirit draws me towards something or someplace in order to shape and form me. It has taken what feels like an eternity to realize that the thing which Spirit uses to pull me in a particular direction never was my destination. We have only one destination, the heart of God. Not becoming a priest, or finishing my doctorate, or any other thing. These are just powerful gravity wells meant to slingshot me towards the heart of God, sort of like how astronauts use gravity wells to slingshot themselves or satellites out into the heavens.

So, if your sense of vocation persists, and you persisit in pursuit, I hope you can trust Spirit to use your deep desires and commitments to shape you and bring you ever more deeply into the heart of God, and to not forget that only there will we find our true home.

Troy+

ps, if you ever need to vent, or need support, write to me. We’re all here for you brother.

23 10 2007
RFSJ

Rb,

Coming to this late too. I’m sorry we couldn’t meet at GTS yesterday, BTW. Anyway, my prayers are with you regarding the Diocese and your discernment. My own path to ordination wasn’t nearly so bad, but it was traumatic enough. I don’t have anything else to say that wouldn’t come across as trite, except perhaps pointing you to the story of Samuel visiting Bethlehem to anoint the next King. Remember what he thought, and what God had to remind him of?

RFSJ+

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