On Epiphany Sunday many of us at Trinity Lutheran Church, Nampa picked up Star Words, a word or phrase to guide self-reflection and action throughout 2018, as the star guided the magi to the baby Jesus. My word was Relationship. Relationship may seem like a boring or easy word for a parish pastor. After all, my job requires me to be relational, within the congregation and the broader community. When I first read the word on my star my response was “sigh….” I am a true introvert. Members of Trinity Lutheran who have worked with me for seven years might tell you that it is the perfect word for this particular pastor. Why? Because having relationships with people does not automatically mean I am doing the WORK of relationships, specifically the work of being vulnerable. I know after over 40 years on this earth that my default self can appear cold in crowd, simply because I am observing everything rather than engaging. I told my mother once that someone had described me as cold. My mom said, “I have gotten that my whole life.” I could not believe her. She makes a party wherever she goes. Yet she proceeded to tell me that people never understood that she was simply being serious and taking the world in. I remember high school classmates berating me in the hallway, “you always look so serious Meggan.” My mother’s body language and facial expressions, like mine, were interpreted as shyness at best and disinterest or disdain at worst. I have worked intentionally to engage, rather than observe, as an adult. The thing is that my mom and I love people, both as fascinating beings to be studied and listened to but also as people we care about and love. So, guided by the word Relationship, this year I am trying to be just a bit more vulnerable. I am doing this mostly in my personal friendships, which I value so highly. I am also trying to share a bit more of my story, my joys, and my concerns in all of my relationships, including those with parishioners, colleagues, and community members. “Relationship,” I know is a gift, worthy of gratitude and openness rather than a sigh. Let me know if you want to write about your Star Word. I would love to have some guest bloggers.
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