If it happens to be that you score highly against the Belbin model of the 'Completer-Finisher', and you are considering parochial preisthood as a life-choice, I would urge you to ponder long and hard about it. It might just be that your head will explode and that you will leave a vile gooey mess all over your shoes.
I have been feeling an increasing frustration with my role - one that I am in raptures about in every other way - because it is one where everything that I draw near to has be left incomplete.
I was sat around a table today discussing the possibilities for a very worthy project in Aylesbury for the homeless community. I was attracted by the significant possibilities that this project could offer, and felt that there was a considerable amount I could do to help. It will not come to pass. I help to oversee another project that provides Christmas Dinner for a hundred people on Christmas Day, without charge. Partly for the homeless community, partly for the people living around the church who might otherwise spend the day alone, or just those who want to join us - the possibilities for this project are considerable and far exceed Christmas Day. I was attracted and am still and feel that that there is much that I can offer over and above what I do. It will not come to pass. I have helped steer the parish community away from some very difficult financial times, helped form a fundraising group and been attracted by the possibilities that those enterprises offer. I feel that there is far more that I can do to help in those things. It will not come to pass. The list is significant, not because I am endlessly blessed with skills and 'solutions' (I am not), but because I am endlessly blessed with a heart to do the best that I can for all of those endeavours.
My ministry seems to be about 'touches'. Like a stone skipped across the surface of a still lake, I bounce along making little splashes. Each are touches on the surface of the life that those around me are caused to lead full-time. I want to do so much for all of them, but I increasingly sense that I will have to be satisfied for doing just a little. This doesn't suit me, I have to be honest - but I am trying to adapt. It probably means that I say 'no' too infrequently! People often joke that priests only work on Sundays, and who can blame those jokers?! It is often only on Sundays when we get to complete something that we start, but the rest of it feels like a working-embodiment of a contents page to the book of many lives we can only point towards. This week, I only 'touched' the life of a teacher/preacher, only 'touched' the life of a school governor, only 'touched' the life of a theologian and writer, only 'touched' the life of a homeless-action worker. All started, all unfinished - all incomplete in my hands.