Sum of the Parts

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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Jill of all trades, mistress of none.

Monday, July 31, 2006

My First Post

In 2002, my husband’s blog began with a catchy little header heralding his notion of a freak-show barker shouting, “Come see a Real Live Preacher.”

I guess mine begins with a simple, “Here I am.” I am married, a mother, a minister, and now a merchant as well. Hmmm…

Some of you have wondered about me. “What does Mrs. RLP think about such and such.?” Or “What is she like?” Some of you couldn't care less. Regardless, this blog adventure really isn’t so much about me in connection to RLP as it is about me. While that is true, I think it might be helpful to set the record straight on a few things about who I am not.

I am not brave.
RLP anonymously approached blogging with a frankness that some found disturbing. (Including me, at times.) Anonymity allowed for bravery to be exercised to the point, that as anonymity faded, bravery was fierce enough to remain in the light of day. I have feelings and people to protect, including myself.

I am not a writer, nor do I play one on TV.
Occasionally, on a whim, I write something, usually when I’m working through feelings that are difficult to articulate. I do find value in looking back at what I have written as a window to the workings of my soul. Blogging feels like a motivator to keep me writing and learning about myself.

I am not a preacher.
I am a minister and I do have the qualifications to preach, but the work I do as a hospital chaplain doesn’t ordinarily require sermon preparation. Sometimes I preach funerals; sometimes I perform weddings; I lead devotional services; I mentor students. Mostly, however, I am a listener and serve as midwife to the birthing of spiritual things. I walk with people who are hospitalized and with those who work tirelessly to care for them.

I am not a father.
…Although our children called us “mommy” and “daddy” interchangeably when they were younger. I am a mother. I am a mother who works outside of her home and in it. Frankly, I find that to be both great joy and enormous challenge. Often I feel I make a mess of both jobs.

I am not a philosopher.
Belief has always come easier for me than for my husband. Doubt was not really a part of my theological vocabulary until I began my internship in the hospital nearly 20 years ago. I do love Frederich Buechner and his gift of re-defining doubt as “the ants in the pants of faith.” I have seen a tremendous amount of human suffering. Making some sense of that has been challenging. Those of us who work in healthcare eat, sleep, and breathe in the suffering of others. We must continually remind ourselves that we live in a microcosm… in a quadrant of sickness that exists surrounded by a larger whole of health.

I am not the person in the spotlight.
While Gordon rarely breaks a sweat in public, I prefer my work to be with individuals or small groups. I’ve spoken to crowds before, but I can become amazingly self-conscious.

Speaking of that, I’m feeling pretty self-conscious right NOW.

So, let me just say this, and we’ll call it a night…

It is important to me for Gordon to write. We have made some difficult decisions during the last couple of years. While I have at times fretted over the changes RLP has brought to our family, I believe that there is significance in what happens in RLP’s world. I do believe in the voice that pushes, and challenges, and is driven to speak of a unique experience of God in the world.

My belief in the person behind that voice convinces me to do what it takes to make it possible for my husband to write. So, now we have a website selling natural soap. How about that? My missions are many… and now there’s another…

I’m out to clean up the world, one body at a time.