I arrived in New Quay on Thursday and I have not yet posted a picture of the place where I am taking up residence for the next three weeks. I am still sorting through the worthiness of such a divine grace landing at my feet.
Last fall I sent an email to colleagues in Wales inquiring about a ministerial exchange. Any colleague could have answered. I could have ended up in any corner of Wales. Clearly I would have been delighted wherever I landed. The divine muse in my life, however, brought me to New Quay Wales where the sea views from my bedroom are absolutely extraordinary, the beach is at my doorstep, and the coastal walking path goes right by the house. This place is no less than a spiritual paradise for a minister who is restored by the shore and at home in Wales.
So what then to do I do with this nagging voice that keeps me from fully enjoying the bounty of this experience. I’m sure it is no coincidence that this gift arrives at just the exact moment I decide to attend to the internalized messages telling me I’m not enough! Grace is funny like that… never a lost opportunity.
Problem is I don’t listen and learn very well through the haze of overworking and the noise of the high expectations I’ve set for myself.
If only I’d listen to:
- my colleague who said just go and be in the moment. Even after mentally unpacking unnecessary work (including zoom sessions with my therapist), my bag was still too full.
- my friend who spoke of her recent trip to Brussels and the readings people chose to bring. We laughed at my plan to bring serious reading to Wales. Even after I unpacked “Dope Sick” and “Healing the Heart of Democracy” from my briefcase, my bags were still too full.
- my parishioner, who is also a retired colleague, responded to my email organizing pastoral care while in Wales by saying, “My prayer is that you’ll finally stop worrying about us and go have some good fun in Wales!!! (yes, three exclamation points) Even then I wrote a pastoral prayer for the congregation for Sunday morning. Chaos is unfolding in our nation and people are hurting. Clearly, my heart is full and can you really unpack that?
- the parishioner at Brondeifi Chapel who doesn’t want to overwhelm me during my stay gave me a few days to settle in. As such I spend my time thinking I should be doing more. Unpacking my agenda is definitely a blessing that is hard to receive.
Clearly, I need to relax, enjoy the beauty of this moment, take in as many beach walks as possible, hike the coastal path, climb a mountain or two, and find peace with a slower pace of life where expectations are reasonable. Maybe then I will internalize the feeling that I am enough! and I deserve all that is being offered.
I’ve come to Wales on this ministerial exchange to listen, witness, learn and adopt new ways and ideas for ministry that matter. Turning back to the simplicity of being in a relationship and being present to a community rather than maintaining an institution is what my ministry longs for. I’ve come home to Wales because I’ve experienced the simplicity and beauty of Welsh Unitarian communities and know they offer what my heart craves.
The divine has showered me with gifts. How shall I be open to simply receiving all that has laid at my feet? How might I hold a feeling of simply being enough? Being present to life, to love, to g-d?
May this place restore my soul and strengthen my call to love courageously in an aching and joyful universe.
Questions to walk with
- When does the I‘m not enough voice surface for you?
- What graces in your life are hard to receive?
- When do you feel unworthy of all that is good?