I was privileged in conversation yesterday. It started with Ryan, a graduate of Our Fair University, who is in town and just wanted to grab lunch together. Then it was steaks and potatoes on the patio with Mikah, my campus pastor's son, who has grown from the squeaky-voiced ping-pong nut we all loved into an incredibly talented singer hoping to study abroad next fall, after his internship in Switzerland this summer. Finally, it was our Theology on Tap group last night, which included Eric, another alum who is now on internship and looking forward to being a pastor in just over a year.
I know I've shared before how I struggle sometimes with the more personal aspects of this calling to ministry. I still come home Sundays ready to crawl into my cave and not talk with anyone for a while, and probably always will. But the fact that some conversations take a lot out of me does not mean those conversations aren't enjoyable, meaningful and sometimes even life-changing. It is a great privilege to be given the gift of conversation, to be privy to the hopes, dreams, sorrows and frustrations of God's people, to be ushered through the doorway of someone's protective emotional barriers into the house where the unfiltered, exposed core of that person lives. Is it hard at times? For me, personally, it can be - but that does not in any way negate the holiness of these conversations. Dear God, don't ever let me trade, in a moment of weakness, these holy times. If I am called to be a tired, caffeine-mainlining denizen of every coffee shop in town, so be it: here I am, Lord.
Grace & peace,
The painting is "In Deep Conversation" by Pam O'Connell