March 21st, 2005


Using what you got

I'm an introvert. Most people are surprised to learn that, since I am big, and loud, and opinionated, and articulate, and constantly involved in leadership (church, scouting, etc.). But it's true. All of my social skills are learned, not natural. Those of you who are also introverts will recognize yourself in my story. I am sure I am not the only person who has missed an elevator because some guy said, "How are you?" as a form of greeting, and I stopped to formulate an answer, while both the elevator and the greeter disappeared. I mean, I had to learn how to make small talk.

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Last week, I went to the local Intermediate School on St. Patrick's Day as a favor to a teacher-friend. I did an hour and a half of Irish history, songs, and stories for her fifth grade homeroom. I didn't dodge religion (you can't talk about St. Patrick -- or Druids -- or modern Ireland, come to that -- without talking about religion), but I was not there in my role as minister.

The final song I sang was "Danny Boy," and I talked about the Potato Famine, and how this song was so beloved of Irish-Americans because it spoke to their sense of separation. A young man is standing on the quay with his old mother, and they are saying good-bye. Despite their brave talk, they know that this is probably the last time they will ever see each other.

Sunday, a boy in that homeroom who is also one of my parishioners brought a whole bunch of St. Patrick's Day thank-you cards from the kids in the class. I was reading them over today, and this is what one girl wrote in hers.

Dear Dr. Art,

I first want to say Thank you. I really liked the last song you sang about the boy going to find a new home. It reminded me of my cousin Cayne he got ran over and died and I still believe that I will see him one day in heaven. Don't think it is a bad thing that you made me think of him. It's O.K. I think you helped me. Thank you. God with you.

Always, in my prayers,

Ashleigh W.

And that, my friends, is how the Holy Spirit uses you even when you're not "doing ministry."

Prayer request

Mary Brown, the DE responsible for Venturing in Hoosier Trails Council, was delivered of a 2 1/2 lb. baby girl (named Karlie) via an emergency C-section on St. Patrick's Day. Karlie was 3 months premature. Mary is home, but Karlie will be in the hospital a while (though she is doing very well).