and the second half of 2012 begins…

seriously, where did the first six months of the year go? before we know it, it shall be the end (of the mayan calendar, at least)…

i keep telling people that it feels as though i slept through the month of june.
there is some truth to that.
because i did take a lot of naps this past month.

but more so because for some reason it seems like nothing significant was able to mark time as it all just blurred together…

i mean, i did things.
i remember activities and people and places.
i just seem to blur them all into one big mesh instead of keeping them separate.
like seminary on the prairie where i learned more about alcoholism, addiction and recovery than i ever had in seminary.
like learning about domestic violence (another topic not really covered in seminary) at a training session.
like leading worship. attending meetings. baking cookies and banana bread. attending fundraisers. buying fancy candlestick holders at a silent auction.
like hosting sisters (krissa and kiana each stopped by for a couple days, separately).
like going to pekin to watch a box parade.
like going to binford to watch some bullriding (yay pbr events!).

but june was still a blur.

and now it’s july.
the 7th month of the year has started.

which means that i have been in nd for over a year.
and some days it seems like i’ve been here for a super long time and i’m ready to move (but these days are seldom since more often i just feel the need to plan a big trip overseas)

but most days it seems like i just got here and that i haven’t really done anything.
even though i know that i have.
i can look at my calendar and see what i’ve done even thought it seems like nothing has happened.

and i think that is the challenge of ministry.

we pastors work.
we visit people, sit in meetings, prep for sermons, lead worship, drive a lot, etc.
we are on call 24/7.
we work and get phone calls or emails even when on vacation (seriously, i’ve had to say that i couldn’t do a funeral because i was in new york at the time)
we work.

but we don’t really see much in the way of outcomes.

we put a lot of energy into our work.
investing ourselves with time, enthusiasm, ideas, etc.
it’s a rewarding job, but the sad thing is that most of the time i don’t know what about my actions and words matters.
like how people enjoy seeing their pastor in the community, even if all i’m doing is walking my dog around or showing up at events and festivals.
like how people appreciate when i remember random facts about what is going on in their lives and ask.
like how people feel special when i take time to call or chat.
simple things seem to matter more than anything extravagant.

but there is so much else that i don’t even realize.
i don’t realize i’m doing it, let alone what others are observing and remembering and cherishing.
because the simple things that matter are often done without me being intentional.
i just act and speak.

i let the Spirit move.

and when the Spirit takes over, it’s as though i’m sleeping and God is working.

which is not a bad thing.
in fact, i think it’s the way i ought to live my life.

but it does make for an interesting life when i try to remember what took place since i wasn’t intentionally acting or speaking when God takes over…

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