April 19th, 2010

full of grace, all the beauty just keeps shaking me

[bittersweet] Laura Ruth thinks I'm a mystic.

On Friday I had an hour and a half lunch with Laura Ruth at HBS.

She said she thinks I'm a mystic.
She said she thinks I think I'm too cerebral [to be a mystic], but she's seen me going where the Spirit beckons.  (She cited my going to so many different churches as one example of this -- see also, below, my figuring out what I want and making so I can get it.)
She also thinks I'm good at shifting quickly and easily between multiple levels of reality (e.g., the Divine within ourselves, in relationship with other people, existing within our culture) and she thinks that's an indicator of a deep spirituality.

She said I'm good at knowing what I want and asking for it directly -- which she is so appreciative of.
She said when she first knew me, I was like screaming what I wanted, and I've become more attentive to the people around me and how they're affected by the context we're in -- without letting go of what's important to me -- and so I've become kinder to myself and to others.

She said she's seen me being present with people -- which is the essence of pastoral care.  (I think pastoral care requires a breadth and depth of other skills as well, but the idea that that is the essence of pastoral care makes sense.)
She said she thinks I think I'm not capable of doing that on a consistent basis (I told her yes, the "on a consistent basis" is a if not the core of it -- that yes I often do what can reasonably be called pastoral care, but I am choosing to do it with people I have a pre-existing relationship with; I don't want to be handed an entire congregation).

[Edit: She also said, "I don't give a sh*t if you go into ordained ministry or not" -- which I mostly knew, but which I still appreciated hearing explicitly articulated.  And later in conversation she asked how long I was planning to stay at HBS, and I gave my usual answer, and she restated it as staying here "until the next thing," which I liked.]

She said something like, "I can say more, but that's what I needed to tell you, so that I can leave you."

I got choked up -- because yeah, that is part of what we were doing with that lunch, wrapping things up so that we can part ways in a few weeks.

(Later, she asked what was going to happen after she left, and I said, "We'll all be very sad and we'll all continue doing the work of the church," and we talked about Rest and Bread some -- apparently Keith's planning to invite clergy, seminary students, etc. to give the Reflections a lot of the times; which is fine by me -- and at one point she said, "Oh, and another thing: you're dependable.  You don't have to be [meaning: you would still be a good and valuable person even if you weren't], but I so appreciate that you are.")

Later, I was thinking about knowing what I want and asking for it -- I think I have frequently made bad choices because I want what's easy and present and available (which is also sometimes tied up with low self-esteem stuff or whatever about what I think I'm likely to be able to ever get) ... but there's also an element of it helping me to figure out what I want, because I find myself dissatisfied with the easy/present/available and yeah sometimes it's a lesson I have to learn over and over again, but yeah, I am definitely committed to figuring out what I want (and navigating that want/need balance, see also want-self vs. should-self) and then finding ways to ask for it so I can have it.

I was also thinking about being present with people -- enabling them to be their authentic selves, including helping them grow.

She wanted to see the HBS chapel, so we did.  There were people standing outside, and she asked them if prayers were done.  (It was about 1:45pm.)  I had no idea that people actually used the HBS chapel for regular worship space.  But there were people cleaning up when we got into the chapel, so apparently they do.

Before you get to the official chapel space, when you just walk in, you're in this like greenhouse thing.  After we walked in, she just stopped.  She was so taken with the beauty and just everything.

Particularly in the chapel but also walking on campus, I was repeatedly struck that she is so much more attentive than I am.  Which I think is part of what makes a good pastor.


From my facebook newsfeed after I went to bed Sunday night (last night):
Tiffany Steinwert  › Laura Ruth Jarrett: Blessings on your new ministry!
LR gave her (final?) candidating sermon at Hope Central yesterday, and their website now says:
Rev. Laura Ruth Jarrett called as pastor
Hope Central Church is delighted to announce that it has called Rev. Laura Ruth Jarrett to become its next pastor. Pending final negotiations, Rev. Laura Ruth will begin her ministry on June 1. Find out about her in a letter from our Search Committee and this brochure about the candidate.
Edit: And an email to the listserv tonight:
[FirstChurch Mailing List] they voted yes!

Dear Beloved,

Yesterday morning, I preached a candidating sermon for Hope Central Church in Jamaica Plain. Just after the service, the congregation voted to call me as their settled pastor.

I'll begin my work there on June 1, 2010.

I'm so glad I get to be with you three more weeks. Our last Sunday together will be May 9, 2010.

I wish you peace tonight!

Laura Ruth