Wednesday, January 08, 2014

the year of Plenty

In church on Sunday (and this coming Sunday, since weather prohibited so many from attending last week) we handed out little paper eyes with words written on them, and invited people to look through the lens of that word throughout the coming year. These eye-words (a variation on epiphany star words) will hopefully be a way to focus prayer, open us to outside-the-box thinking, and provide things for us to share in the community.

I told people as we passed the baskets to simply take a word without looking and pass it on--don't go through the basket looking for the right word, just take what comes to you and trust that it will be a vehicle of grace in the coming months.

Of course then when it was my turn to take a word, I immediately wanted to put it back for another one.
Granted, I didn't draw the dreaded Patience, so I should be grateful.


the hopeful side of me (yay! plenty means a lot!) is offset by the cynical side (plenty of what? "opportunities" to practice patience?).

So the dictionary definitions of plenty include "adequate to meet the need" and "more than sufficient." That seems like a good definition to me. Enough. Not gorging, not overflowing, not ridiculous, just enough.

My therapist loves that I got this word, as she's been trying for two years to get me to think of myself as enough.

I think it's intriguing to be the pastor of a church, a pastor who preaches that God's abundance means there is always enough for everyone, not an overflowing ridiculous cornucopia, but enough for everyone…and, like many pastors of many churches, to know that "plenty" seems a lofty and unlikely thing (there's never enough money, people, time, etc)…and to ponder this word for a whole year.

Whose idea was this, anyway?

(the next word in the basket was "pleasure"…and you know that if I could have discreetly traded, I would have. but I was in front of the sanctuary and was 30 seconds away from admonishing people to stick with the word they got, so…)

SO: plenty. enough. adequate to meet the need. sufficient.

or, to use words that directly address one of my most recent laments: adequate for the task.

The part of me that is a perfectionist (okay, it's a big part…but surely some part isn't?) has its own internal rebellion going on right about now. I don't want to be just enough, not just adequate…I want to be amazing! Not just plenty, but overflowingly abundant. And I also want that in my own resources--more than enough money, time, energy. And in the church. And in the world. (yes, in that order…because this part of me is also selfish.)

So plenty will be a two-way word, I think. Pushing on my perfectionist self, and on my sense of unpreparedness for the tasks this year holds. Pushing on my understanding of what it means to be a pastor in this community and to be a person trying to live a life.

I think that's plenty for one year's pondering.

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