Monday, 16 April 2012

In which I fret

I’ve spent the last two weeks at my family home, hence the blog silence, where I was dog sitting and generally fretting. The idea was to get away, enjoy some time away from the pressing demands of everyday life, to take some time out to reflect on all the many weird and wonderful things that have happened over the last few months. And partly I did. But I felt like I was play acting at being relaxing rather than actually feeling it. Over a quiet lunch by the river my brain had already fast forwarded to September. Will I fit in at College? Will I know what I’m doing? Will I really be able to drive by then? Can I honestly learn ancient languages? What will I be like on placements - will I comfort people as I should? What if I let them down?

A couple of days into my holiday I went to the college to discuss housing. It has that typical Oxford vibe, big portraits looking down at you making you feel about two feet tall. Glass cases like you see in museums filled with previous possessions of famous former students, important people who changed things and influenced people. Bishop’s prayer books and rings from hundreds of years ago. And then there is me. Feeling like someone might come rushing in exclaiming - ‘there’s been a big mistake, she shouldn’t be here.’ And knowing I’d probably agree and breathe a sigh of relief.

Because I’d been preparing and preparing for the interview day. I’d been spending my time just getting through the day to day of living in the complete unknown (and perhaps even getting quite good at it!). But now I know. And it is wonderful. I feel blessed and humbled and a million other joyous things. But man, I feel afraid. Afraid I won’t be everything people need me to be but then afraid of losing myself too.

 At my interview one of my interviewers, in a rare and momentary lapse of the steely interview face, asked me not to change. I know what he meant. It’s the same reason that I feel that fear, that sense of not fitting in. But I know that huge sections of society don’t feel like they fit in when they walk into a church. And that is why I think I’m here, for translation purposes. Because it’s not an exclusive club, you don’t need to know the rules. God doesn’t work that way, he takes you just as you are and church should too. 

In all this fretting I think I’ve begun to realise something. That it’s quite possible that I can’t do this. Who could love, tolerate and care for people as much as a Vicar should? Who can honestly say they will represent the most important thing in their life to others and not tremble at the prospect? I’ve needed a whole lot of grace to get me here and I need a whole lot more for every single step of this journey. So for now it is chin up and a big dose of trust. Perhaps one day it’ll be my Lady Gaga CD in that museum case…!  ;) I don’t think the poor church is going to know what’s hit it!!


  1. Nicola,I'd be very worried if you didn't feel like that at this stage. The last thing the church needs in this uncertain age is too many people who think they know it all and can do it all. That's God's job, your's is to to do the best you can and trust him.

  2. Thanks Perpetua, that's very encouraging! Exciting and nerve wracking but glad to be here!