I was surprised when I received a congratulations from the Columbia Seminary Alumna office recognizing my ordination on September 12 1993. I knew it was in September but I didn’t know what date. That was yesterday. Wow!
I’ve struggled with what being ordained means to me now. I had only been serving a church for three years when I sustained my TBI. Many others in my graduating class have served churches all this time now and being the pastor of a church is second nature to them.
I guess when I look back at my life I see that I have not lived a “normal” life whatever that means. I didn’t get married and have children in my 20’s and 30’s like so many folks I know. I’m not established in a career nor do I have lots of nice stuff. It sometimes does surprise me when I think about what I do have: A nice house, decent clothing and food, a car and a computer. So many folks do not have these things and I am grateful for them.
I looked at the vows I took when I was ordained and I think I have kept them although in my situation it would be easy to let them go by the wayside especially the last one. “Will you be a faithful minister, proclaiming the good news in Word and Sacrament, teaching faith, and caring for people? Will you be active in government and discipline, serving in the governing bodies of the church; and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?”
It is clear to me that many folks who have a TBI would not be able to fulfill these vows and that is okay. However, in a limited way I can. I believe that folks who have sustained a traumatic brain injury have to try not to compare themselves to the rest of the world. This is hard for me especially when I look just like everyone else. I remind myself every day that I can only do what I can and this is okay.
Here is a picture of a rainbow which also gives me hope and strength. It appears after a storm and I’m reminded that my spirit is intact even after the storms of life.