Maybe I’ll go to church after the mere thought of being in sacred space no longer turns me into a blubbering idiot. It has been a long time. A long time for me anyway. And I miss it. I truly do. But I’m not ready.
When I was still a parish pastor, I used to love pew sitting. It was a selfish pleasure. I thoroughly enjoyed having the Word read to me and listening in on another’s interpretation. It’s different now. Now, I’d just be sitting there feeling sorry for myself. Maybe I’d feel differently if I had retired. But I didn’t retire. I ended up having to publically admit I was an alcoholic and resign. It’s a stigma that will follow me for the rest of my life.
Yet, despite my self-imposed exile, I still read the appointed scriptures for each week. This Sunday’s gospel is the parable of the talents. It’s the story about a wealthy master who puts his slaves in charge of his fortune prior to setting off on a journey. Upon the master’s return, he is delighted to find that two of his slaves had invested wisely and even turned a profit. These two get themselves invited to share in their master’s joy. A third, however, had played it safe and stashed his portion away, actions that displease his Master greatly. So this last slave ends up getting himself tossed into that proverbial outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Oh, do I know that place well. I’ve been gnashing my teeth and weeping for nearly three months now. I screwed up. Bad. I know that. But wait a minute. This is a gospel story, so there’s got to be some good news, even for the likes of me. I’m still breathing, so it’s not over. Do I still remember? Can I retrace my steps to the place where I last had possession of my talent? Who’s to say I can’t retrieve my portion of the Master’s treasure and start again? I may not be able to be a parish pastor, but I certainly can do something. There’s got to be a way I can still turn a profit before the Master returns. Yes. That’s what I’m going to do.
Just as soon as I’m ready.