After ten years I am no longer on staff at St. Paul’s. Apparently the job-sharing arrangement Heidi and I had with the pastor, the parish administrator, and the search committee that hired us way back when had some legal problems with Social Security, IRS, Diocesan policy, and such. To add insult to injury I apparently was never legally on staff at St. Paul’s. Like it was all a dream or something.
I knew this might be coming for a few weeks, but it all came down in within the space of a day. Kind of like ripping off a bandage.
I surprised myself about how attached I was to being a part of the parish staff. I mean, I was basically a glorified volunteer anyway. I plan to do the same (more or less) work now that I’m not on staff. All I am stripped of is the title, the position, the keys which are tokens of access. Nothing else was changed.
So why was I suddenly so angry?
After some prayer I moved from angry to ashamed. I realized that I was *attached* to the recognition, the title, the fact that I had trusted access to the parish facility, that I was an *insider.* I always thought of myself as having a servant’s heart, but now I have to question just how true that is.
Truly, in my heart, alongside the attachment I apparently have to my own importance, is my joy at having been able to serve my parish in this special way. I realize that that service is more my own blessing than anyone else’s and I feel privileged to have been allowed to participate in God’s work at all.
If I were a really mature and humble person, I would have turned over my keys and my badge and said “Whatever. Praise God anyway.”
But I didn’t, did I? And now I have another occasion to be gentle to my foolish self and allow myself to grieve a loss that I wasn’t supposed to be attached to in the first place.
But to the members of my parish family, thanks for the awesome opportunity. Thanks for giving me the privilege to serve you on parish staff for ten years.
I’ll still be glad to make your coffee on Sunday, but I won’t be able to unlock your classroom door for you.