Monday, July 27, 2009

(Relationship) Toxic Blog

I generally try to be somewhat restrained in talking about relationships or work in a public forum such as this. I don’t go to any extraordinary measures to hide my identity, so I could be found out by lovers or co-workers (Hey there, N, L, K, J, W, and C!).

This, for me, is simply not the place to air dirty laundry.

So, I try to keep personal and work related posts to the generic, humorous, absurd, or positive.

Twice I have mentioned that I have a boyfriend.

Twice, within days of mentioning said boyfriend, the relationship has ended.

So, I have made a resolution:

Whereas every time I mention a boyfriend in a post, the relationship ends and,

Whereas I really want a stable relationship in my life;

Therefore, be it resolved that I shall never again mention any relationship by title in a blog post.

From now on, anything regarding my personal relationship status will just have to be inferred through the text - or if you know me, you can just ask me directly, but don’t sit around refreshing this page for any juicy bits.

At least, not any juicy bits about me!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Simple Prayer

Growing up in the Baptist tradition, one learns to master the art of improvised prayer (a particularly useful skill when pop-tests come up). When I have known in advance that I would be giving a prayer, I have thought of a few phrases that call in the them of the service on a given day, but I have never written a prayer to be delivered verbatim.

At least until now.

I was called upon to give a prayer of thanksgiving following the baptism of my boyfriend. Something about the mix of solemnity and joy of the occasion calls for something more scripted - and since he will be out of the room, he wants to know what I say. I have been challenged by the very thought of what prayer is and what is appropriate for a baptism.

I have heard many people deliver beautiful scripted prayers and have envied those who could deliver them so well, but it has never been something in the scope of my experience. Now I’m discovering that writing a prayer is no easy task.

I have been working on the prayer for over a week an a few lines of poetry have emerged from time to time. I am constantly editing and the prayer may indeed be the most thoroughly revised piece of writing I have ever done. I just want it to be something special for the occasion and for my boyfriend at this such meaningful time.

What I keep questioning about the prayer: does it need to be poetic and heartfelt? Just poetic? Just heartfelt? My first inclination has been to go with just heartfelt, but public prayer is oratorical and without poetry, will it carry any resonance for the celebration of such a grand day? We are warned against vainglorious “show-off” public prayers by Jesus. Those prayers were by people calling attention to themselves and their own (false) piety. I want the prayer to be memorable for the occasion it recognizes, not for the one delivering it.

Baptism is such a sacred moment, it calls for serious consideration, but it also calls for perhaps the greatest celebration of any event practiced in the Christian church. Poetry can span both poles. Great oratory can as well. What I have come up with is a little of both.

I pray it does the duty.

Prayer for Baptistm:

God of creation

And God of re-creation

We are here, now

Solemn at the thought

of the sacrifice that cleanses

more than the water touches;

Overjoyed by the thought

of the love so generous

it heals the broken heart

Amazed at the thought

of the grace beyond deserving

that joins us to you.

Let us now rejoice!

Let us now sing!

Let us celebrate the soul, you, God of creation and God of re-creation have made new.

Join our hearts together in the journey before us - under your guidance and your will.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, we pray. Amen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goal for Living

Part of the staff development for my current job included taking the Gallup organization’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 inventory and report our findings to the director of professional development. These kinds of inventories are exactly the type of thing that fascinate me as an educator and counselor. Truth be told, it is taking these kinds of inventories that fascinate me most. With 177 forced-choices, I came away with much to think about as I tried to memorize as many of them as possible in the 20 second time frame alloted to each pair.

As with any well developed instrument, the results were entirely, “Well, duh!” to me (but perhaps, I am more attuned to myself than some people). The only thing different about it comes in the vocabulary it uses to describe and group results. They have 34 themes under four domains. When results are calculated reports are available that identify the taker’s top five themes. My top five are all spot-on and I am willing to bet the scores are so close, the order is interchangeable.

The question that nags at my brain - because it craves information and order - is “what is the order for the remaining 29 themes?” If one is at the top, certainly, one must be at the bottom.’

They really want me to pay $550 for one hour with a personal consultant to find out.

The five themes identified as my top five are (in order): Input, Learner, Achiever, Intellection, Deliberative.

Don’t they get it? With those five, I am going to figure it out for free! I am smart and determined!

I am strongest in the “Strategic Thinking” domain with three themes there - Input, Learner, Intellection and second strongest in “Executing” with Achiever and Deliberative located there.

Not surprising to those who know me well (and despite formal training and practice as a counselor) I lack any identified strengths in the “Influencing” or “Relationship Builder” domains. What it really proves to me is that I am as much the introvert as I try to convince people I am. While I have good great stage presence in front of groups, it sucks away all my personal emotional energy. When I am done with a personal appearance before an audience, I require personal alone-time to recover and re-energize. I maintain a few very close friends in my life and do not even pretend to be friends with everyone.

Yes, I know how to be social, I just don’t go ga-ga, and I do only what I need to keep in touch. Occasionally someone will strike me and I make every effort to bring that person into my circle of friends. Generally though, I am not the warm fuzzy in the room.

Still, I am proud of my strengths and they position me well for the things I want to do and goals I have. One question, asked in several ways through the inventory, revolved around the goals one has in life. While I responded that I am goal oriented, I realized I rarely write my goals in a final printed form. I have them floating around in my head, but I don’t always publish them.

That is where my brain went after taking the survey and what I imagine I will be spending the next few days doing. I want a stated goal for living; a declared purpose in life.

In the end it will likely be a “well, duh” statement, but if I have been living my life true to me, the isn’t that what it should be?

Of course, one never knows - I may quit my job, sell my house, and decide to live in a tee-pee on the Kansas plain.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Unexcused Absence

Back in March, I wrote a post about why I was not posting much, and in it I explained that when I returned, the blog may well have a different direction.

Obviously, that essay was never posted.

Suffice it to say that I have simply been so busy with both my professional and personal life that I have not had the chance to write anything beyond what was required for work and grad school lately. I have been so emotionally occupied, that I have not felt a NEED for the creative release either.

In that time there have been both work and personal tugs-of-war. I am tired, but I know myself much better after them.

In February, I began an new job and in June I accepted a (volunteer) leadership role with a group addressing GLBT persons place in religion and working with churches to help them be both welcoming AND affirming of GLBT persons.

In May I fell in love - and it has been hard!!! I have to make so many personal adjustments to make this work - I’ve been single 42 years (yes, I count infancy and childhood). I knew relationships were work, but DAMN! Still I’m happy and I like his family. It took him five years to get me, so I’m glad he didn’t give up.

Now I am going to be back - on somewhat of a regular basis, but I think with a specific focus. We’ll see how that works out over the next few months.