It has been a long while since I sat down and posted my own thoughts. Life has been very busy and the demands of family, employers and church have been significant.
I can’t help but reflect on the past year and all that has occurred since January 1, 2012. Mid-year, I was asked by the bishop to become the assistant director of the diaconate, a position that requires a great deal of emotional and mental energy. We are in the process of gathering a new cohort of men to begin formation next year. So far, 27 men have shown interest. The screening of inquirers begins soon. Days of reflection and retreat have been and need to be scheduled and planned for the current diaconal community. Healing and reconciliation always needed.
The clinic remains a place of great challenge. For nearly 30 years now, I have been practicing clinical social work. (In case you don’t understand what that is, it is psychotherapy.) I continue to love the work I do and am honored so many open their lives to me in our interviews. It is very much a part of my diaconal ministry. People bring to me today the same problems they did 30 years ago, with a few different wrinkles. What has changed is the value system that so many now have. What could be assumed as valued in terms of family and marriage 30 years ago cannot be assumed today. It is very sad. I find also an increase in the acceptance of Wiccan and other forms of paganism (yes, Buddhism.) More than once I have quietly wondered, “What did you expect?” when someone who practices satanism ends up with a very disordered and unhappy life.
I find myself amazed at how much money dominates people’s lives, including my own. It takes a lot of money to survive, given our lifestyle. I am not talking about extravagance here, just basic middle-class living. People are always asking for money. Bills are always there. It really is a comment on our culture. We easily can be enslaved to the dollar. Think of it, all money is now-a-days are numbers. Numbers get exchanged. Seldom cash. An electronic transaction with power, and we get ourselves enslaved to it. The first commandment against idolatry should be a frequently confessed sin.
More and more, I am called to diaconal service. I mentioned becoming the assistant director of the diaconate. There are funerals and baptisms, home and hospital visits. God seems to be calling me more and more to the ministry of the Word. Preaching is frequent and demanding of time and preparation. Prayer becomes the hinge upon which the day transpires.
Having said all of that, I conclude: LIFE IS GOOD! We are so richly blessed. We are never forgotten, and God loves us beyond all telling.