Waiting On Ready

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.

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7 thoughts on “Waiting On Ready

  1. Your honesty is very touching. I cannot imagine the struggle you are going through and how difficult your journey has been. I do know that God does not want you to feel shame, Jesus lifted the heads and hearts of sinners and those who were cast down.
    Only God knows if you will return to your former position but for now it sounds like you need a season or rest, healing and recovery. God will use your struggle for His glory and purpose in your life and in the lives of others. I hope you will return to church very soon, sit and rest in His presence and heal.
    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are all just a bunch of sinners running around bumping into each other trying to get it right. No one sin is worse than another. Sin is sin. God loves us and uses all things for good. Forgive yourself (not easy I know) and put your fear in His hands. You are His church. Let His light shine through you. I’ll be praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome to the club. I’m a recovering alcoholic pastor myself. It’s been ROUGH, but now I’m 5 years sober, have a well-managed psych condition (PTSD), and a happy home with my wife (whom I met at an AA meeting after my 1st abusive marriage ended). I barely avoided being defrocked by my former denomination (I won on appeal, but then had to renounce jurisdiction before a second attempt was made).

    With less than 3 months in, I know — O! how I know — that it seems like the end of the world. But it gets better. Slowly. But it DOES get better.

    I know how you feel. I still have a hard time attending church. It hurts. I am stuck in a city where there are no ministerial opportunities for me, and where my work history and education makes me essentially unemployable. The feeling of uselessness and self-pity does pass, like they say. But it’s a constant effort sometimes to fight it off when it rears its ugly head again.

    If you’d ever like to talk, please feel free to write. My email is james.a.olive@gmail.com. I’d be more than happy to share my number, too. I know how important it is to have someone to listen, to listen to, and to share experiences with.

    Pax Jesu, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It will get better. Your life (professional and otherwise) is not over. God will make use of your adversity in some way that will help others struggling with addiction or other life altering events. God bless and one day at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never been in your shoes, but I know how it feels to have fallen. We just have to look at Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. A friend of mine said “People will always talk, so do whatever you need to so that you do not regret later not having done it.” I wish you the best with the long and seemingly difficult path.

    Liked by 1 person

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