Control is something I write about a lot. Perhaps I write about it so much because I never quite master giving up my desire for control back to God. I am reminded of the book, Divergent, by Veronica Roth. In it, the dauntless faction seeks to master its fears through simulations. In the book there is disagreement about whether fears can ever actually be mastered or whether the work is just recognizing the fear and its cues, and then modifying one’s bodily response to those fears.
If you asked me this week whether I was in the “never mastering fears” camp, the answer would be a resounding yes. As someone who values control, my life has felt totally out of control this week. It started with a standby jury summons – every day this week I could not know the fate of my day until 5:00 pm the night beforehand. So I was already in a state of ambiguity, hoping my childcare arrangement for the day would work. Then, just as the week was starting, I received a late night pastoral care call night, necessitating a visit in the wee hours of the night. Two nights later my youngest daughter had one of “those” nights: uncontrollable crying, waking up everyone in the house, and leaving us all weary. Even as I sit waiting to be called for voir dire, I wonder what will happen today. Needless to say, this creature of control is being pushed to the limit.
This experience is especially interesting to me as I think about what is happening at St. Margaret’s. We are approaching our Annual Meeting in December, where we present our budget for 2015. We do not know what our pledges will be this year yet, especially because some of our older members are quite frail. So during budget planning, our Vestry had to step out on faith with an estimated budget – in fact, a budget that expects a deficit. And yet, here we are, stepping into the great unknown, praying that God and the people are with us.
As I plod through my stressfully ambiguous week, I appreciate what kind of ambiguity and risk our Vestry has assumed. But I especially appreciate their faith, hope, and confidence. They are inspiring us to embrace generosity – generosity of our time, talent, and treasure. I am grateful for the powerful witness this week. They are an inspiration to me and the entire parish.