There was a certain time in my life when things were not going well for me in my ministry.
- It was the time of the tragic Texas A&M bonfire: I had been forced by circumstances to deal with this trauma, to witness the deaths, and to minister to the friends and families of those who had died. I was one of many clergy providing pastoral care; the Catholics were the first to arrive and Sandi Mizirl, our own campus missioner, did a yeoman's work with the families at the hospital. I had stayed on the site to visit, to pray, and to be present with the police, firemen, and other rescuers who were seeking the young people still trapped beneath the fallen stack.
- It was a time that I was struggling under the weight of my own ministry goals, forgetting for the moment, the lessons I had learned about shared ministry. I was spinning a lot of plates, most of my own creating, and they felt like they were going to fall any minute.
- It was a time that my relationship was very strained between me, my father, whom I love, and my family.
- And it was a time that I was in solo flight. I did not have a clergy support group or anyone with whom I felt like I could confide my struggles. My prayer life was in the dumper. Life was hard, and I was making it harder, and I wasn't reaching out for help, though help was all around me.
Eventually, I had no choice but to change a couple of things as a course correction; some changes occurred naturally, some by my invitation. Most of these changes revolved around reaching out to others. I found a counselor to help me better understand myself. I found a clergy group to gain new ministry perspectives. I moved into a relationship with a monastery in order to renew my prayer life. And I got into Al-anon.
This course correction did not have immediate, but rather long term effects.
Coming Up: There's a Reason it's called "Working the Program"