He had finished his baby food and had been partaking of the avocado from Tiffany's crepe -- but he wouldn't let her feed him, insisted on doing it himself ... and every time he successfully got the food in his mouth he got so excited ... and she had to swoop in and push the food back into his mouth so it wouldn't fall out.
I told her about the poem my mom had written when I was little -- Stubborn indepdendent baby / "I can do it myself -- maybe."
I said something about him being extroverted, and Tiffany was like, "Yeah, I know, where did that come from?" I told Tiffany that when I went to Tu b'Shvat at Havurat Shalom a couple weeks ago, Leetka greeted me at the door all "What's your name?" and "What languages do you speak?" and suchlike -- not remembering me from the Pride service -- and I said that I sat with her and her mom for dinner and Leetka kept saying, "I'm lonely! Nobody's talking to me!" I told her mom, "most transparently extroverted person I have ever met," and her mom said, "I don't know where she gets it from -- both her parents are introverts," and I said, "Maybe it's recessive?" Tiffany said extroversion is actually dominant -- that introversion is recessive, so only ~25% of the population are introverts ... but ~80% of UMC clergy are introverts.
Tiffany reiterated lots of the positive things she has said to me before (and the still new-to-me formulation of me as part of the "leadership" of CWM), which was really nice. She talked about having watched me move from "I don't belong to any church" to "Cambridge Welcoming is my church" and watching me find a home for myself in various different church communities and watching me grow into leadership -- and she said after I finished preaching I was glowing, which I had not heard before.
I told her some stories from the retreat -- about Tara talking about being a hymnal junkie and my saying that my best friend is too but I'm not and my saying maybe I should collect hymnals too and about singing "She Comes Sailing on the Wind" for Jeff even though solo singing is so not something I do (because Church challenges us and grows us) and about thinking that if I collected hymnals then I could create my own personal collection of hymns I like for use in worship services and how I found myself thinking, "Worship planning? Seriously?" I told Tiffany that I keep saying I'm not Called to ordained ministry because I don't want to do xyz parts of that, and I keep having to cut down that list.
She said, "At your ordination I'm just going to say, 'I told you so,' that's all."
She asked how I felt about her recent sermons on Call.
I said at some level I'm like, "Yes, that's Tiffany's theme this season -- you, congregation, can and will do great things after I, Tiffany, leave." She joked, "What are you talking about? It's in the lectionary -- it's GOD'S THEME, Elizabeth!"
I said that I definitely also heard myself in the sermons (by which I meant: "I know that I am one of the people you particularly have in mind"). She said, "I'm glad you heard yourself in those sermons." (In a really kind way. Though yes of course also a really loaded way.)
She said she hoped I would continue to be in leadership in the church, that she always appreciates my feedback, and that she thinks I'm particularly good at pointing out, "Yeah, this is all well and good for us insiders who know how everything goes, but..." She literally used the phrase "welcoming the stranger." I forget sometimes that that is part of What I Do -- because now that I'm such a long-standing and involved member of various church communities, I've lost some of my attentiveness to the outsider's experience of church. I appreciated the reminder.
Addendum: Housemate, having read this entry, says to me, "So you were caught in the act of worship planning," and, "I'm just going to start introducing you to people as 'my roommate who is definitely not resisting a call to ministry.'" We agreed that my thinking seriously about it doesn't mean I have to do something about it next week or anything -- despite many people's half-joking "so when are you going to seminary/div school?" I said that for a while I was knee-jerk reacting because I'd had so many people tell me that clearly I should be doing this thing, and I didn't think so, and gee are we surprised that my response to people telling me how they think I should live my life is to say "No way"? And having said "no, you're wrong" so many times, it would mean admitting "Okay, you were right all along" -- except that hey, I'm still doing it on my timetable (i.e., they weren't right all along, because it wasn't right for me Then); I've had an "imaginary div school plan" for years, and it's only recently that I've and I'm still not sure about this whole grad school thing. I can continue to be involved in the leadership of my churches, and I can continue to write sermons (yeah, one of these days I would like to get back to actually doing that on a regular basis) and grow into worship planning, and basically keep being serious about church and continue actively discerning. I love my day job less than I used to, but I'm still not in a rush to leave. Really, I'm not in a rush about any of this, and that is OKAY.