I recently, as in, about a month ago, left my parish job. It was my decision, it was quite amicable and the right thing to do for many reasons. But I feel a bit like a sea turtle on land. You see, I have worked in parish ministry for a very long time, and now I don’t. Nor do I see myself going back to it. I’m not quite settled in, or is it out, in my new place as not the church lady.
I’ve been talking to God about all of this and waiting on his wisdom to reassure me. A few Sundays ago, my husband and I went to Mass at a different parish to celebrate the baptism of a friend’s son. I was sitting with my husband, always a treat since he’s a deacon, and an usher asked us to bring up the offertory gifts. “No” was my thought, and I looked to my husband to confirm the “no” I was thinking, and he shrugged and said, “Sure.” Then the usher asked if knew how to do this and I smiled and nodded.
I started to look up the songs we’d be singing and one of my favorites, “Here I am, Lord” was planned. Yes, I’m aware of the theological concerns with the song, that it becomes an earworm for many, and that it might be overplayed. It has been my answer many times to many questions, so I put all of that aside.
That morning at Mass I received my reminders that I have a place: it’s with God. No matter where I work or serve or pray or worship I am his. And that is where my focus is now. I am in a time and place in my life with freedom and flexibility that I don’t think I’ve ever had in my life. It’s a bit overwhelming at times since it’s so new, but I’m slowly finding my way.
Bringing up the offertory gifts reminded me that with the bread and wine I, like all of us, bring myself to the altar.
Copyright 2018 Deanna Bartalini