...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tribute to a Friend

Thanks to Sr. Mary Dennison, the Founder and Director of the Spiritual Direction Institute at the Cenacle Retreat House in Houston.
  • Who, on the threshold of a sabbatical, has shared her wonderful gift of listening and empathy, of clarity and intellect to everyone she encounters
  • Who, in welcoming and accepting others, frees their gifts for joyful service and love
  • Who first told me that my love of reading and study was not weird but a valid spiritual discipline and tool for prayer and growth
  • Whose dedication and joy in her ministry these many years is not only beautiful but smart and contagious
  • Whose Midwestern spunk, good humor, and patience always brings fresh air to the seriousness and judgment of our Bible belt religion
  • Whose permission-giving, thought-provoking, and authority questioning gave me the freedom to rethink, discern, and repent
  • Who tells the stories of saints and martyrs with reverence as well as friendliness
  • You have embodied in the classroom and beyond the ideals of my spiritual heritage: "First do no harm, practice doing all the good you can, and stay in love with God."
  • Thank you, friend and sister in the Lord, for all you have done for me and for the church we share in Jesus.
  • Thank you for inviting me into this safe and healing place, and for all your encouragement in the SDI, in spiritual direction, and as a pastor!
We in the SDI third year are deeply grateful for your bringing us together! What a wonderful gift you have given the church and our city! May your sabbatical be filled with hope and rest and light and life.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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