God's ways

I've been giving quite a few presentations and workshops these days through my ministry at the peace and justice center. It's been kind of fun to pull together some new material. Next month I'm doing a workshop with high school students on climate justice. Later this month I'm talking to folks at a parish about the two feet of charity and justice. Plus I've pulled my immigration and human trafficking talks off the shelf a few times lately.

One the one hand, I really enjoy this aspect of my ministry. It's a way to get out of the office and away from the computer, which is where I spend the bulk of my time. Instead I get to be out and about with people. It's also an opportunity to be "Sister Susan." What I mean by that of course isn't that I'm not always Sister Susan. Rather, it's a chance to be a public witness to the fact that people are still choosing religious life. When I'm at a parish or Catholic school or even talking to my legislators, I realize that there's a certain level of fascination with the nun thing. There's also a certain level of joy and wonder at people following their call. It used to freak me out, to be honest, but now that I'm more comfortable in the role I enjoy the interactions.

On the other hand, I'm an introvert at heart and being in a public speaking role completely and utterly exhausts me. Thankfully I gave myself a gift in my 20s and spent three years getting over my fear of public speaking through Toastmasters. My life as a glorified bureaucrat also helped o prepare me. I was pondering the other day how God's ways are certainly mysterious. It never entered my mind that getting over my fear of public speaking would be required for ministry. And yet, I'd be a much less effective minister if I wasn't able to talk to folks. Funny how things work out.

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