Sunday, 30 August 2009

New Era?

The official announcement has been made today that I will not be returning to post in Falkirk and I'm very grateful for the time and space that was made available to me to reach that decision. Of course, in some ways the future is just as unclear now as it was 6 months ago. As of 1st October I shall be jobless (so application is underway for benefit support as well as ongoing job search). But it may help to list to date the progress that has been made:

I am on sick leave due to depression.
Parish ministry is not for me.
Living in a small town isn't for me.
Living alone does not make me happy or fulfill me as a person.

I have not drunk alcohol for almost 6 months.
Until, yesterday, I hadn't smoked for 6 weeks. (Starting stopping again as from today!)
I have attended therapy twice weekly since May
and am very gradually and (with much pain and resistance) am getting somewhere. I think.

My therapist is on holiday for a month. So I need to start putting some other bits of activity in to my timetable, so I don't regress into an isolated cupboard. Like building on the volunteering I did at the Festival of Spirituality and Peace. Like taking up an activity or joining a social group. I might be on the dole as of the 1st October, but I'd better try to organise my life so that I have one again. Parish ministry means that your social life tends to withdraw into a small circle of like minded people in the same area. I need to build out and not depend on the Church for my self identity as much. Or rediscover John the person as opposed to John the Priest, the Rector, the Role. Which is sort of what has been going on slowly in the last few months but it is seriously a work which has begun and is far from complete. So we go on. But it does seem possible now, which it really didn't before.


  1. Well done,

    This is the end of the beginning. Well done for waiting until the time is right, for you, to make the decision. Your therapist may be away, but you are not alone. This is your chance to ride around the garden with your training wheels on. Falling still hurts, but you are never far from the germaline. By the time they get back you will know more about yourself than ever.

  2. My prayers and thoughts are with you. Been there and it's sore, and to begin with, often lonely. However, we are a resurrection people! There is new life out there, and your priesthood is still forever.

    And you will be a better, more fully equipped priest through this experience. God bless, and don't stop blogging!

  3. Thank you all! Oddly I saw the draft that was read to the congregation on Friday and then went to therapy and it turned into one of the more +ve sessions I've had. Then today, instead going to normal haunt of a Sunday morning in Morningside or to OSP as I had palnned to listen to the Part Mass setting, I ended up in Spikey Mike's where the Dean's sermon re-phrased much of my therapy and spoke to me. So there is a process of healing and restoring ongoing, but it is slow and the timing isn't to my taste - but I'm learning that I am not the centre of the Universe which is part of the growing.

  4. We're with you on your journey.

  5. Keep going John. Right behind you here.

  6. I agree with Kenny - don't stop blogging. You might think of some lay preachers who need theology classes, some time - they're in a small town, but you could escape at the end of it!

  7. Agreed. Don't stop blogging! And this internet community, while disembodied in some sense, is still very supportive.
    Here's to you and a journey of rediscovery, reclaiming, re-membering John... just John.