it has its moments

i’ve been working as a pastor for about 2 months. it’s hard to believe that a mere 8 weeks ago i started my career as a newly ordained lutheran minister (who just so happens to work as the associate of a 7-point parish where one congregation is presbyterian unlike the other six).

i keep getting asked various questions: do you like your job? what’s it like? how are you finding the communities? what’s your favorite part? how’s it going? etc

i hate these questions, and every other question that is similar.

i know that people are curious.

i love that they care enough to ask.

but i hate the questions because i never know how to answer.

so here are some answers:

do i like my job as a pastor?

yes and no.  i love being with people. i love worship. i love knowing that what i do is important to people even as i don’t really understand just how or why. but there are days when the emotional strain gets to me, days when i wake up with a headache, days when i am at a loss as to where i should even start and have no idea what to do. it can be overwhelming to think of all the people who are part of my congregations and community who could benefit from a visit, or the many activities to be planned and attended, or the expectations of what i now stand for as pastor. overall, the job as its moments, both good and bad.

what do i think of the new community/communities?

i like north dakota. i may joke about my heritage, but i’m also extremely excited to be the “fresh blood” (aka new, not norwegian and not a farmer) in a rural community with strong norwegian ties. plus i’m actually excited for the frigid temps and the windy days to come. people are nice, and they all seem to be very happy to have a new pastor. bonus points for having people who are so excited to have a young, single female clergy. it’s weird to enter a community with a known hierarchy where the “important” people are the elderly, the descendants of founders, or those with necessary professions (doctors, nurses, teachers, etc). i move in and moved up the ranks pretty quickly for my age simply because of the role i get to claim as pastor.  and where no one seems to mind if i happen to encounter them while in jeans.

how am i settling in?

seriously, this is the most annoying question ever. what does that even mean? settling in…i moved all my boxes and bags and suitcases into the house. i unpacked a lot of stuff. is that enough? or are they more interested in things like repainting walls and putting up curtains and choosing decor? if so, then i can reassure them that the kitchen was unpacked within a few days of arrival, that my clothes are strewn throughout the bedroom, that books are on shelves, and that the tv and wii and dvds and computer are ready to keep me entertained. oh, and the really ugly curtains/valences were taken down and the new drapes purchased. the ugly fish wallpaper is next on the “to go” list as soon as i figure out how to remove wallpaper…

but i have a nagging suspicion that the real question people ask should be:

are you here to stay?

cause if so, i could easily answer: yes, i plan on sticking around for a couple years because no, i have no intention of leaving anytime soon. this is the first move i’ve made in the last several years where i do not have an expected date to leave and move onto the next place and event. while that is scary, it’s also extremely liberating. scary because i don’t know what to expect from the future. but liberating because i can make my mark in a building without worrying. it may have taken a couple months (and actually the arrival of a sister who actually got it started), but the decorating has begun. and now that the decorating has commenced, it’s my home for the foreseeable future.

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