The Boss of Me

The one on the right said “You are not the boss of me.” To her parents. To her teachers. She has to experience something to make a decision. She doesn’t read directions. She has a smart mouth.

I thought of her yesterday when I received instruction on how to pray: “Please be inclusive of other faith traditions when you give the invocation.”

I will celebrate 36 years of ordination around the same time I complete the DMin program. The only instruction I can recall on “how to pray” is “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6.9, NRSV)”

That instructor has authority with me. He is the boss of me. I will heed his counsel. As for the rest, I’ll invoke the spirit of the one on the right.


Pastoral Care in the Small Details

Screen shot, Terri Gross's notes

Screen shot, Terri Gross’s notes

Small details

I have a file of “thank-you” notes. One of my favorites is an old one from a five-year-old who is now graduating from high school: “Dear Rev. Cindy, thank you for teaching me that Caspian is Jesus,” complete with a drawing of me (signified by a cross) and a lion (a stick figure lion looks like a dog, but with a mane).

What he doesn’t know but will, as he ages, is that the thank-you note continues to have a ripple effect for the recipient, many years after it is received. It may have taken him 15 minutes (because writing was a new skill, but it still speaks volumes of love to me.

The small details matter. The five minutes makes a difference. My lesson from this is that I need to take the five minutes to do the caring thing.