Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bread Crumb Trail

Right out of seminary, I interviewed for a job in California (which I happened to get - shout out to my LBUMC peeps!).  The position was Director of Youth and Family Ministries.  One of the initial phone interviews was with a child/teen psychologist, who asked me what my primary purpose in ministry was.  Keep in mind I was newly graduated, full of theology and polity and all kinds of "right answers."  But before I could use any of my school learning, my heart made me blurt out, "To help the kids know who they are."

In so many ways my life has been about discovering who I am.  I've preached that the actual definition of sin is not being true to yourself.  I've worked very hard to be someone who is honest, caring, compassionate, endlessly forgiving, someone who brings anxiety levels down and seeks to find the best in others.  I've spent a lot of my life chasing perfection - not Wesley's kind, but actual physical, mental, social, academic perfection.  (You'd think by now I'd have learned.)

For some reason, when I went through Facebook this evening, I was overcome with waves of disappointment - in myself.  I made a couple of mistakes this past week, and I'm still not at a point that I can be okay with making mistakes.  Several someones pointed out my errors, called me on my posturing.  I guess they meant well.  I should try to see where they're coming from.

And yet, all I want to do is to scream, "Get off my back!"  The pressure is intense - and almost fully self-imposed, I know this.  At the end of the day, I still want someone to tell me that I am loved - just for who I am - strengths and weaknesses and silliness even when it goes a little too far.  In the Christian church we call that "grace."

I don't buy the idea that if you know who you are you'll know where you're going.   I feel more like Hansel and Gretel, who must have despaired when the bread crumbs ran out and they were left alone in the forest, far from the home they knew.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm a big girl. I can find my own way.  Just don't be surprised if I look down, now and again, hoping to catch a crumb, any kind of trace, the trail that leads me forward - and back to myself.


  1. All I can say is that I'm enjoying knowing you, foibles and all.

  2. My most frequent feeling about myself is disappointment. Not that I make mistakes, for I'm uncommonly good at making mistakes. But that I haven't been able to overcome the challenges in my life, in our lives. That every day is a struggle, that we work our fingers to the bone. That my inability to do better hurts someone who seldom complains, and who has never given me anything but kindness and love.

    But for her sake, and for my soul, I won't give up. And I'm still going to fight to change the world, even though I can't even change my life, for I find nobility in struggle against insurmountable odds.

    It's not the life I would wish, but it's the life I have. So what can I do, besides what I do.

    As for you, my dear, I love you just as you are.

  3. 1) I think one of those FB instances was genuine nostalgia, not criticism. I'm almost sure of it.

    2) Even given point 1), I don't mean to invalidate your feelings...I struggle with my own imperfections daily--and student evaluations make the illusion of perfection impossible. We're never done with bettering ourselves, and the attempt is it's own reward.

    Be gentle with yourself.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Case in point---"its own reward"...Can't believe I committed one of my biggest grammar pet peeves.

  6. I think that part of knowing ones-self is knowing that there are stumbling blocks and it's not the blocks that define anything, but how we deal with them and continue onwards. Doesn't make the blocks any easier, though.

    Also, I really like the Hansel and Gretal analogy. I totally feel like that sometimes too.

  7. The more we feel that we need something, the harder it is to feel solid boundaries of who we are.

  8. Aerin-

    FB makes people say stupid things. Statuses and comments alike. Y'know what else makes folks say stupid things? Being overwhelmed by your presence.

    Just saying. Queenliness is root-shaking.


  9. I think you're pretty awesome and I've never even met you.

    You never get there. Your worth comes from continuing to try to get there.

  10. Whenever I get too knotted up in future ambitions or past mistakes, I like to put this on:

  11. Oh, and I just realized I didn't say earlier that I love you as you are. I know you already know that, but it's always worth hearing/saying.

  12. I would KILL for some bread crumbs about right now. *sigh*




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