Now that I’m within days of finishing my curacy, I’m being asked often what I’ve learned over the past three years. Quite a lot it would appear:

  1. It’s ok to not have all the answers.
  2. Because sometimes there are no answers.
  3. I can’t help everyone.
  4. All people are loved by God.
  5. Sometimes ministry is about cleaning up other people’s shit, figuratively speaking.
  6. And sometimes literally.
  7. Greyhounds make great pastoral visiting companions.
  8. But whine during the daily office.
  9. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

  11. But their battle does not need to become my battle too.
  12. When you’re in a public role, people will talk about you behind your back.
  13. And dream about you.
  14. And lie about you.
  15. Most of the time, it says more about them than you.
  16. But there comes a time when it’s necessary to stand up for oneself.
  17. Conflict can be creative.
  18. And sometimes necessary for true reconciliation.
  19. Apologies are liberating.
  20. I really am a Myers-Briggs ‘J’.
  21. I am not by nature loyal to institutions.
  22. I am suspicious of those who are.
  23. I will respect those in authority.
  24. As long as they use their authority wisely and justly and compassionately.
  25. I do not like bullies.
  26. Or people who are power-hungry.
  27. Or micro-managers.
  28. I get bored by strategies, frameworks and models.
  29. It is possible to wear a clerical shirt and look professional and stylish.
  30. But it’s also damned expensive.
  31. Days off are sacred and must be protected.
  32. Not every sermon will be amazing.
  33. I often make mistakes.
  34. That does not make me a failure at life.
  35. Some people expect perfection from priests.
  36. Their expectation does not have to be a burden I carry.
  37. It is possible to be an introvert and a ‘people person’.
  38. A good night’s sleep helps put all things in perspective.
  39. It’s important to spend time with friends.
  40. And to have hobbies totally unrelated to church.
  41. Sundays are exhausting.
  42. Trash tv is a necessary evil.
  43. Fashion magazines are the only kind of reading appropriate for Sunday afternoons.
  44. It’s ok to be vulnerable.
  45. Mental illness is not a weakness.
  46. I extend more compassion to others than I do to myself.
  47. Everyone needs someone in their life who is wise and courageous enough to speak the hard truths.
  48. Tears are ok.
  49. Spa days should count as retreats.
  50. Singing evensong isn’t actually all that scary.
  51. Learning the liturgy at Old Saint Paul’s has been the easiest part of my curacy.


Images from Buzz Quotes, Casual Priest, and Luxury Spa Breaks.

5 thoughts on “lessons learned

  1. Wow. You learned all that in three years? Wonderful – I’ve shared it already! Wishing you well in your new role by the spa pool of Galilee.

  2. Thank you! Such wise words, and things to hold on to – a good reminder to someone who has been in ordained ministry for a number of years, and still needs reminding – still learning!

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