Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ca me manque

In the French language, there is a peculiar way to say you miss something or some one.

The verb 'manquer + à' means to miss a person, place, or thing, as in feeling the lack of it. Here are some examples:
  • Paris manque à moi. Paris me manque. I miss Paris.
  • Tu manques à moi. Tu me manques. I miss you.
In French, the person, place or thing that is missed is the subject of the sentence, whereas in English, the person missed is the object. The French construction literally says A is missing to Z, where in English we says Z misses A. I love how the language challenges me to think about what I am saying.

Which brings me to what I miss. "I miss ministry," I found myself lamenting the other day.

I miss being part of explicit healing and wholeness. I miss that marginalized and "on the edge of things" sense of being that comes with being a Chaplain. I miss explicitly praying with so many people every day. I miss the awkwardness of wondering if patients or families even want a prayer. I miss my colleagues and our sick sense of humor. I miss being called on my sh*t.

Then again, I don't miss being on call for 30 hours at a time. I don't miss being in the midst of wailing mourners who are crying out to God why why why. I don't miss being reminded day after day of the suffering that we humans go through. I don't miss living part time in Spartanburg.

I think that I'm just grieving.

Which is why the French way of saying "ca me manque" is really apropro. Ministry is not really missing me, ministry is missing TO me. I am struggling to remember that I am doing ministry in any kind of work I do. So part of my spiritual practice these days is to accept what I am doing now as really a step towards what is next. It's a reframe.

With God's help and grace, I see how working as a fundraising rep for United Way in the area of Healthcare is ministry. I pray for God to turn my heart of stone for "business" to a heart of flesh for relationships and for Love. I pray that I, too, can "connect the dots" - as our business slogan says - that the work I am doing to raise awareness of needs, will also soften the hearts of people who can give and thus make our community stronger. Jesus, I pray, keep me awake. Help ministry to not miss me.

Jesus said, "You're tied down to the mundane; I'm in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I'm living on other terms. I told you that you were missing God in all this. You're at a dead end. If you won't believe I am who I say I am, you're at the dead end of sins. You're missing God in your lives." John 8:23 (The Message)

What is missing to you as you show up, in this moment?

1 comment:

  1. beautiful! I resonate. Sometimes I worry that I'm just glamorizing the "good old days in Spartanburg" - oh that we were back in Egypt! But, even with the hardships of being there - there was alot of irreplacable richness. You are a wonderful minister wherever you are!