I used to love district clergy meetings when I lived in the country. The competion was almost none, therefore people were very friendly and not threatened by others’ success. Here in the city, while I absolutely love being in the city, I do not love the district clergy meetings. Too many superficial interactions due to feeling threatened by another’s success and fear of “sheep stealing.” And, it seems, WAY too much testostorone and not just from the men.
I really like being friendly with other clergy. I really appreciate the ways that only clergy fully understand what it entails to be clergy. While laity understand that it’s a lot of work to do two funerals on Ash Wednesday before leading an Ash Wednesday service, clergy have an understanding that goes beyond “it’s a lot of work.” Clergy understand that there’s a poignancy that happens as you impose the ashes saying, “You are dust. To dust you shall return.” after being at two cemetaries earlier that day. And silently praying to God that you don’t have to officiate at so-and-so’s funeral because it would be too hard and at the very same time not being willing to allow any one else to do it because you know that you will do right. There’s this emotion that goes with that that I can’t quite name but it’s not just about the work of the day and a day that’s full.
Anyway, at the city district clergy meeting, I was sitting with and visiting with the clergy that I know because of the country districty clergy meetings where we have been together before. I greet and talk to the city folk, but I appreciate the bonds formed in the more laid back places that nuture me while I tolerate the rest of the time spent there.
I recognize the desire for connections with others so I am slowly trying to forge those bonds in the city, too. Meanwhile, I celebrate that there are connections already formed and others being formed.