Read this contribution from Kat Banakis for many reasons: for her humor, her wisdom, her flair for language - and for what is seriously the best image, ever, of all time. Enjoy.
My alma mater did a video project recently where they asked college seniors, “You have thirty seconds to talk to yourself five years ago. What do you say?” The videos themselves were forgettable, but that got me thinking? What would I say to myself five years ago? And it turned out to be really rich reflection for how my ministry has taken shape so far.
Here’s what I’d say: I know you just got back a really crappy grade in that ethics class, and you’re mourning that because your GPA isn’t high enough to get into a PhD program in theology or ethics now, and while you were never really sure on academia, it’s a door shutting on a rather seeable path.
I know you feel like no body’s bunny because losing academia compounds on not knowing where you are in the ordination process and having left lobbying in DC to go to div school, so academia, the church, and government all seem to not be quite the right fit for you in their traditional forms.
Not knowing is so hard. It is, and it doesn’t stop being hard, but you will start to see a pattern unfold enough to trust in the theological claim that nothing is lost in God’s economy. Everything does get put to use, just not in ways you can see from the front end.
This summer you’re start messing around with some writing again. The bits won’t take a magnum opus form, but the freebie contributions you craft and send out will pay off later. You’ll use the lobbying skills from DC in congregational life. You’ll even use that intro to computer programming class you took pass/fail in college where you thought all you learned was how to ply off dandruff riddled TA’s with Funyuns and Mountain Dew.
And someday in a sermon, you’ll even use some of the books from that ethics class that’s making you cry right now.
And gosh, it just gets funnier. One day you’ll be doing a kids’ service, and at the quietest part of the whole service a first grader in a fabulous sequined beret will yell out “Meghan! Thank you for coming to my birthday party!” And you’ll have to press your lips together not to spit in laughter. Another time you’ll ask someone in the congregation how her week was, and she’ll say “Like a cat trying to bury shit on a marble floor,” and it will just be one of the best images. Ever.
But right now, maybe just try to treat yourself the way you would your favorite goddaughter. Let her eat soft foods and go to museums and cry underwater. You’ll learn the goddaughter phrase from one of your best friends, but right now she’s just a girl you met years ago. You’ll have to move cross-country to love her.
Nothing is lost dear girl. It all gets put to use. But for today, it’s totally OK to be sad and scared.
About Today's Contributor
Kat Banakis’ book of practical theology Bubble Girl: An Irreverent Journey of Faith is available through Chalice Press. She works part-time as an Episcopal priest at St. Luke’s Church in Evanston, IL and full time as a strategist for a consulting firm that helps non-profits use big data plan smart fundraising.
About the Women in Ministry Series
The Women in Ministry Series is a collection of guest posts that aims to provide an alternative to the women in ministry debates by telling the stories of women in ministry and encourage women to explore their God-given callings.
Contact Katherine at katherinepershey[at]gmail.com to pitch your post idea in 2-4 sentences. You can stay updated on the latest post each week by signing up for the weekly e-mail list.
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