Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bait-and-Wait... and Wait...

If you are one of my (6) loyal readers, then you probably know I've started volunteering for Hospice. It started over a year ago, when I heard this story about vigil volunteering, which is sitting with people who are actively dying (yes, that's a real term) and thought, "I could do that."
I spoke to a Hospice nurse in my parish, and she connected me with the volunteer coordinator at the local Hospice organization. I dragged some parishioners in with me, and a few of us did the initial training for volunteers there this past spring.
I have learned a lot from being on the volunteer-end of things, where I usually am the coordinator of the volunteers- mostly that when someone like me feels called to volunteer in a particular way, we'll be willing to work for it, give time, and fulfill expectations- that how rewarding that is.
Another part of me, though, is feeling a little like a victim of the ol' bait-and-switch. At the information meeting the Hosp. coordinator gave at my parish for those of us who wanted to do vigil work, they told us that we'd need to participate in a 9 week training. Okay. Then, we found out we'd have to do 6 months of direct care volunteering, before doing a vigil volunteer training. Ah... fine. Now I'm 4 months through the 6 months of DC volunteering, and it's nice enough- as it turns out, visiting dying people is pretty much exactly the same thing as visiting living people- and that, I could do through work-  I am not doing what I want to do.
Tonight at the volunteer support group, our (lovely, really) coordinator said that pretty soon, they'd be starting to plan vigil volunteer training, which is something she's never done before, and didn't exactly know how to do.
I'm wondering if (despite the worthwhile training and good experience so far) I should have just called a hospital to begin with, almost 2 years ago, and offered to start a NODA list there. Toot-sweet. At this point, I've come awfully far to turn back, but I'm frustrated.
Another valuable lesson in volunteer coordination!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back At It

I just want to say: if you can ever, possibly, take two weeks of vacation in a row, DO IT.
I'm back to work after my first-ever two-weeker, and I feel excited to be here and anxious to get going on things. Of course, it's the end of August so these feelings are a mix of excitement and panic that I've wasted the summer and now I have to catch up and get ready at the same time. But this is going to be a good year at the parish, I can feel it... as long as nothing catastrophic happens in the Archdiocese and everyone on the team stays healthy, we're poised to do great work.
I had taken a mere week off at the beginning of the summer and at the end of it, I felt like I'd wasted it. All week I felt a little guilty whenever I sat still, hearing the time tick away, and then feeling like an idiot for worrying about relaxing too much on my vacation. This time we had a camping trip in the middle, and the rest of the days just fell out as they came, and I did lots of fun things, lots of productive things, lots of nothing. It felt great and I still feel great.
Now I'm gung-ho to get going again at work and loving all of humanity mostly, and full of ideas. Yes, two weeks is the way to go.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Scars: A Response to A Response

I took FrChip's dare and posted his response, and have waited some days to respond, so I could do so respecfully. As soon as I read his comment, I went back to re-read my post and thought that really, if he'd written his first, my post would have been a great response to his charges. So I won't say much, but there are two things that I think I might as well respond to, and they are these:

1) I chose the word organization purposely in my post, because it is with the organization side of the Church that I struggle. I'm flat-out, head over heels in love with the Mystical Body of Christ- in fact the existence of the MBOC is the reason I still have hope for the organization. I don't think we can just deny that the Church is an organization, and in fact I think it's really dangerous to do so.

2) I know FrChip's "BC boys" jab is just a lame attempt at a personal dig, but here's the thing. I'm not a cheerleader for BC, just went there because opportunity knocked. For the record, I didn't find it to be the bastion of liberality that everyone warned me it would be. But here's the important thing- I didn't get my theology from BC, not from the "boys" or the "girls" there. What I did get from BC, and for which I'll be eternally grateful, was encouragement not to live in fear of people like FrChip, who just want me (and people like me) to shut up and not make waves, who want me to leave well enough alone so that everyone can pretend the emperor's clothes are fine.

Thanks to everyone who sent me great encouragement off the blog. I hope my writing here is always as kind and thoughtful as it is honest, and I appreciate the opportunity to let my thoughts and feelings bleed out through my fingertips and onto your screen. Always, feel free to comment.

Monday, August 13, 2012

ahhh relaxation

Holy shmoley my back is out. I think it knows I'm on vacation, did a hard relax, and now it's a mess. Two spots; one up just under my shoulder and one down at the bottom of my back, which feels mostly okay until I turn or bend a particular, slight way, and then POW it spazzes out. Feels like I imagine being stabbed might feel. When it happens, I bleat out "OH!" or something like it, automatically. Poor Scott.
I'm doing everything I can think to do outside of involving people who could actually help me. What is that?? I've never been to a chiropractor, and I don't call because... I don't know. My beloved massage therapist moved and now I don't have one, and it's so expensive... and the doctor, well, I dunno. Would the Minute Clinic take me in, and give me medicine? Hmmm...
While I muddle around not doing anything actually helpful, I'm icing, and taking Aleve (kidneys be damned) and trying to keep moving, or stay still. I have a lot to do, plenty of ways to keep moving.
Maybe I'll lay on the hard floor for a bit. OH!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I spoke to an old friend recently about what I do for a living, that is, working for the Catholic Church.87 I am always ready to talk about what that means, even about the cognitive dissonance involved in working for this organization. But when I mentioned a well-known bone of theological contention, my friend rolled her eyes, hard, and said something about pedophile priests. Now, I understand that this is a natural reaction for people who only know the Church by what they hear in the news, or by people who have left in disgust over this very issue. I so understand that this is the baseline that we, as a Church, have created for ourselves. But I can't help wincing when I hear it from people, especially  people I care about. It's all at once freshly raw and something I wish we could pretend never to have happened.
It's an issue close to my heart- not because I was abused (I wasn't), but because it has been such an earth-shattering experience to live through, in a religion that holds not only my belief system but my family, my marriage, my career, my identity. It has been a struggle of how to stay in an organization such as this, how to justify teaching Her ways to others while feeling deep hurt. and if you've been reading here for very long, you know how hard that struggle is for me, as well as how genuinely risky it is to admit that I struggle at all. We live in a time of fidelity oaths for catechists... it's not okay to struggle with with the faith and it's not okay to struggle with the leadership.
On the other side of the reactive spectrum, I know parish workers and diocesan workers who have clung to their faith in this church. Maybe it's their way of surviving through the state of things, to turn harder around and work harder at seeing only the good. I totally get the appeal of that response- I'd do that, too, if any fiber of my being would allow me to. But I watch my "company man" friends and fear for the day when they are bitten by the very snake they are trying to bandage. Maybe it never will happen, and I'll envy their lifetime un-scathed. But because I've been there (because I am there) I know that if it happens, in whatever form it happens, when people who are devoted and trusting of their Mother Church find themselves receiving the wrong side of Her hand, it's going to hurt and it's going to hurt BAD. I watch these people with a combination of envy and worry.
I love this Church, this Church that has made me question everything about my faith, my beliefs, my place in the world. On the whole I think it's healthier to be the kind of (suspicious, pained, grounded in recent history) Catholic that I am, than to be the Company Man kind of Catholic. I'm on the backside of the (inevitable?) fall from grace, for sure, but I'm not curled in a ball. I'm up, I'm walking, I'm shaking it off and healing my wounds. I'm still here and still in the game. I know stuff I never dreamed and would never hope to know. I'm part of the recovery.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Like, woah.

Check this out.

Remember Dick Tracy's radio watch? When the writers of that time thought about futuristic inventions, they knew that communications would be so important that everyone would need to do it, from any location. Especially people like Dick, out fighting crime and hunting down bad guys. And what did people always have with them? Their watches.
It never occurred to them (I mean, how could it?) that people would ever stop wearing watches. Everyone, they must have assumed, would always need to know what time it is.
Now, of course, in the actual future, we look at our phones to find out the time. How crazy is that?