Thanks to all of you who read/subscribe to this blog. It means a lot to me.
I feel bad that I haven’t posted regularly (or hardly at all) in the past year or so. In this post I will take a crack at explaining why. Warning: I’m going to fail miserably so please be patient.
One year ago June 12, 2017 (six days from now), I retired from the ministry after 21 years of service. It has been a euphoric, confusing, lonely, difficult, amazing time.
I don’t know who I am anymore.
Obviously I’m a counselor/therapist. And I love that.
But I am not what I was for 20 years and what I am now somehow feels less than what I was before. I’m not sure why, as I feel like I’m helping people on a much deeper level than ever before and I love my work. If this isn’t making sense to you, be comforted that that’s because it doesn’t make sense to me either.
And that’s been the problem. I don’t know how to make sense of my life anymore. Pastoring was my identity and, as much as I’d never go back to it, I’m not really sure how to go forward either.
Soldier on, perhaps?
I’ve lost two beloved friends in the past three years.
Life isn’t the same anymore. Though it’s better in a million ways, I’ve been floundering in so many others.
I don’t even know who to make mad at me anymore.
The only reason anything I’ve ever written has had any value is because I’ve always been willing to allow certain groups of people to be mad at me, writing it off as the price of saying anything that’s meaningful at all. Now I’m not leading anymore, and no one is following (the natural consequence of not leading, obviously), and writing anything on this blog at all feels presumptuous.
I guess I’m in a learning process maybe? I didn’t have to learn how to be a counselor — I already knew how to do that. But I have to learn how to not be a pastor. While I’m figuring that out, posts may continue to be few and far between. After all, it’s hard to stand for anything when you no longer even know where you’re standing.
All I can think of as I bring this post to a close is that, as authentic as I’ve always tried to be in my writing, and as personal as I have been willing to get, I’m scared to death to press the Publish button. I fear this post is going to be off-putting, or seem like I’m asking for pity, or even appear depressing. I really don’t want to post this at all. But not wanting to post anything that has come to my mind the past year has gotten me to where I am now, having posted practically nothing for so long.
But I at least had to post this and own it: that frankly I’ve got nothing, folks. I also have to be honest, that after pastoring for 20 years, admitting I’ve got nothing feels awesome.
It has been said that writing is a struggle against silence. The silence won this past year.
The struggle continues.
P.S. One request: Comments are welcome, as always, but please — no advice.