Turning a corner

21 10 2007

Thanks again to everyone who expressed their support over the bad news received earlier this week. My “live” family and friends, particularly my Personal Atheist, Sista Girl, Beefeater, and most importantly, SIR, were invaluable in their encouragement.

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, the turnover for assistants in my boss’ office is very high. I have been working at that desk for 4 and a half years now, and prior to my arrival, the life expectancy for anyone working for him a six months to a year. While I have bucked the trend on that, my co-worker’s seat still experiences the same turnover. My current co-worker arrived in May being transferred/promoted from another area, and she told me on Friday that this week she is going to let my boss know that the current arrangement is not going to work out in the long-term, so she has put in for another transfer. And so the horrible trend of the revolving door in that office continues.

Ironically enough, that bit of news along with more encouragement from friends and SIR helped to pull me onto a bit of an upswing in my mood. As SIR said, “my stock just went up regardless of whether or not your boss likes it,” so I’m not quite as concerned about my year-end bonus as I was earlier this week, though I still expect it to be less. I have stayed in a horrible and toxic office environment for as long as I have because I did not want it to be a bad reflection with the Church. After all, I am a recent “convert,” having been confirmed in 2005 and raised as a Baptist. The ministry would also be my third career (Retail being the first, and the current one being the second), so the last thing I wanted was to give the Church any reason to think they’re a flavour of the month, so to speak. In light of a conversation I had with a good friend of mine, who is somewhat familiar with diocesan processes, he said that at this point, it should not be a factor, especially in light of the fact that I intend to stay the course with regards to the discernment process.

Yesterday was a nice decompression day, and a healing one. I slept late, went to the gym, had brunch, did some work for our parish’s upcoming benefit dinner, putzed around and went to got together with a whole bunch of friends at a local pub. This morning i slept in again, not having any church duties until this evening, and cracked open the lectionary readings for today. The first sentence of the Gospel was this:

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. (Luke 18:1)

Now, I don’t put a great amount of stock in those stories of how people turn to some random page in the Bible and find God speaking to them out of its pages, but if this isn’t a word of comfort and assurance, I don’t know what is. Yesterday, I felt that I had turned a corner with all the bad news and other things life has been throwing at me, that I had a plan to tackle with these issues, and was starting to feel optimistic in spite of it all. I am taking the opening sentence of today’s Gospel and the following parable as confirmation that I am correct in my feelings.

On Thursday morning, one of my priests and I have a meeting with the Canon for Ministry to discuss the bishop’s request for me to withdraw from the discernment process. I am going into that meeting with the intention of persuading them to reverse the decision. My clergy know this and are very supportive.

One thing you have to realize about my parish is that it is a bit of an anomaly in a progressive diocese in that it is seen as rather traditional and has a strong conservative/evangelical wing on its vestry and in the congregation. One of the former rectors went on to become a bishop in a conservative diocese and that bishop later participated in the consecrations of the Anglican Mission in America bishops in 2000 (he was retired at that point). For me as an openly gay man to receive the unequivocal support of the vestry and clergy in this parish says quite a bit, if you ask me. This will be one of the things I am going to bring up.

My rector told me earlier this week to “trust the process,” which sent me over the edge a bit … I said “no offense, but the only one I am trusting in this is God. I believe that the Holy Spirit can speak through the various processes and councils of the Church, but I am not persuaded this is what is happening here.

I am committed to seeing the process through to the end, and if I have to wait 2 more years before resuming discernment, I will, but to quote Ricky Ricardo, “you got some explaining to do.” In the end, I do trust that God is working in all of these things that are happening in my life right now, even though I don’t see it. A good work has begun and it will be seen through to completion, whatever form that takes.

And for me, as long as I am continue to do what I believe is the faithful thing, that is enough.

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6 responses

22 10 2007
Christopher

Given how you’ve described your current work environment, it sounds like if at all possible finding something other would be for your overall health and might be better for your process with the diocese in terms of discernment. Toxic is precisely the word I would have applied to your current situation.

22 10 2007
Christian

Well, I know one thing for sure, you looked fantastic on Saturday night!

22 10 2007
Reverend boy

Thanks very much! I haven’t worn my USN Dress Whites in almost 10 years and i was really happy with the way it fit …

22 10 2007
Dennis

it was great meeting you tonight at the OCICBW… dinner. Glad you could make it.

24 10 2007
Doorman-Priest

So, R.b. I have been looking at the various sites where people who were there on Monday have been posting or commenting. No-one seems to get as much good press as you. I have heard you variously described as charming, deeply spiritual, lovely, a hottie and scrumptious.

In the light of what a bad week you had last week I really pray that you hear this and accept what lies behind these comments. You were in the company of people we both respect and whose opinions we hold dear so accept the affirmation as a valid sign that some other less perceptive people have got it very badly wrong recently.

I am now even more determined to meet you some time!

Much Love
D.P.

24 10 2007
tobias

Keep the faith, Rb and the faith will keep you. The process may fail… they do that sometimes, but God will never fail you. Bless you as you meet tomorrow, and the Holy Spirit guide all who gather with you.

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