I spent many years in seminary — earning a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary — and in part time ministry, and then burnt out rather quickly in full time ministry. Who knows what it all means? Wendell Berry says, “We live the given life and not the planned.” He meant this, I think, in a joyfully free way: We don’t have to plan, or worry! Life has been given to us! Now I am doing freelance editing work, and nannying, two jobs that I am good at and that I love.
For seven years I lived in an intentional Christian community, where we strived to learn what it means to “live the church” seven days a week. Since then I’ve been enjoying the pleasures of solitude, or at least as much solitude as you can get in Boston on my budget. Sometimes I make plans for the next big move, or career, or community experiment, but, well, see Wendell Berry above.
From time to time I also write short stories and send them to editors, who cheerfully send me rejection letters. I then send them more stories. Sometimes I fear we’re trapped in a co-dependent relationship. Sometimes I blog true things that happen to me (peripatetics) and sometimes I blog stories (poetry and prose), but often you can’t tell the difference. I also write essays on topics ranging from the weather to Christian ministry to the weather (there is a lot of weather to write about in Boston).
Lately I have discovered that it’s okay to draw badly. It may even be necessary. The perfect white of my sketch pad and the perfect rainbow of my pencils, paints and oil pastels have been replaced with something that looks like a human lives here. I decided to call this “art therapy” since I can’t really justify the expense of having myself committed.
I would still be lost without the ability to get lost in a good book. If it takes you more than one try to get through that last sentence, maybe this ought to give me some idea of why the rejection slips keep coming.
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