Pantheacon always has that Summer Camp kind of feeling. It’s awesome while you’re there, and you miss it when you’re gone, but you also know that it wouldn’t be as special if you lived in that space all the time. Today, I miss it, but I’m also glad to be home and resting.
The Circle of Cerridwen had a suite this year, and this made for a very different, and amazing, con experience. We were intentionally a dry suite, as we have members who are in recovery, and while our suite didn’t get to the point where no one could move, it did have many interesting people come in and out. This also made for really interesting conversations. Some I didn’t think I’d have, and some that I really didn’t know the impact of until I came home on Monday.
But I (and the coven) did the work of pastoral care. Caring for people, sometimes, who would get ignored by other attendees for many reasons. Mostly ignored because they were different in some way, which, even at Pantheacon (as pleasant and awesome as this one was), does happen.
I’m still thinking about the work we did. My own personal pastoral work and impact, the impact of our coven, and the impact of the rituals we performed (The Descent and The Sacred Body). I’m really surprised that the Christian elements we brought with us didn’t get any overt push-back, and that we were thanked for talking about Jesus in a ritual. It’s really made me think harder about what my path really is. It always seems when I come up with a plan, it changes again. But the biggest message I got is that what I’m doing and the way I’m doing it is really important. I’ve been helping people, affecting and effecting people, on lots of levels. Some levels where I don’t even know what I’ve done for people.
But I do know I’ve gotten the best compliment a pastor/minister/priest can receive. Where someone takes the time to tell you that what you did, said, or preached has had an effect on them in some special way. That you’ve made an impact on their lives. That you’ve helped them realized something about themselves that they didn’t know before. That you’ve brought Spirit to them in some way that healed them.
It’s easy to say to myself that I didn’t do any of that, it was Spirit moving through me that did it. But really, Spirit can’t do this work without me (and those around me). Spirit can’t plan the ritual, bring the props, make music, make Keynote slides, break bread, make oil, and all the other things that can only can be done by a human being. But I’m really in awe of it. It’s scary sometimes. It’s scary because it just seems so much bigger than me, and because it’s so easy to get a big head about it. I know I have good folks around me to keep me from going there, but it’s hard not to go there.
It brings up the question of what I’m meant to do and where I’m meant to be. It brings up a lot of self-doubt. Do I get ordained in a Christian organization? Do I just hang on and figure that out after graduation? What organization really would want me in it? Do people really want my ritual, my preaching, anything I have to say?
Pastoring in the suite seemed so easy, really. I just did it. I was my priestly self. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t doubt anything. I just did it. It’s only now when I’m technically “off duty” that my brain starts it’s litany of doubt.
And maybe that’s the answer. I just do God’s work and let (most) of the rest attend to itself. It seems too simple to do that, but….