Thursday, March 6, 2008
Making Tough Choices
I live in the land of diners and all across North Jersey people will argue over which is the best for milkshakes, meatloaf and fries -everybody has a favorite diner and favorite diner food. They can be very loyal to one place. I am the kind of person who likes to go to a variety of diners, trying the specials of the day, if I'm feeling brave or something standard like a burger if I am not. It all comes down to choices. Most diner menus are so large, glossy and multi-paged, that I feel overwhelmed. My husband and I often have to ask the wait person to come back several times as we stew over the myriad of choices before us. It can be overwhelming. I know that there are some people who know exactly what they want and never waiver. I am not like that and Mark isn't either. We like to experience the full range of choice and opportunity. We usually end up narrowing our list to two items we both want, and then sharing them when they come. Neither of us, then, has to make a really tough choice.
Sometimes though, life presents tough choices. Six years ago this April, I was consecrated Bishop and took a vow that I would take my place in the councils of the church. I am honored to do so. But this spring meeting of the House of Bishop starting tomorrow is another thing entirely. It's a bit of a tough choice to go when I go without the support of a diocese. And it can be tough to face my colleagues when I don't know where God will call me next. But most of all, the hard choice comes when I know that my youngest daughter begins her break from college on the same day I fly to the House of Bishops. That's the tough choice. What mother should choose to go to a meeting when they can spend sometime with one of the greatest gifts and miracles in her life. All three of my girls are gifts and miracles, and I have had to make some tough choices throughout my ministry, to honor my vows as priest and bishop and to honor my responsibility as their mom. It is a choice that has always torn me in two.
As usual, I tried to find a creative compromise. I am coming back early from the House of Bishops so that I can spend as much time as possible with her. It will still be hard to go, knowing that she's home. Home and family are always my first choice. My prayers today are for all of us who have to make tough choices, who have to do our best to care for and love our families while we honor our professional obligations. So here's a short prayer for all those who are making tough choices.
you have given me so much in those around me,
you have blessed me with love and support,
and I am grateful for every new day.
You have also called me to this field
you have given me honest and honorable labor,
and I am blessed to have a way to offer my talents to others.
Today I am torn, wanting to go and to stay,
wanting to be in both places, not wanting to have to choose.
God, go with me and stay behind for me.
Protect those I leave and love
and protect me as I go forth to serve as I am called.
You are my strength, my redeemer, my rock.
Today, I need all of those and more.