Four years ago I started a program for ‘lay ecclesial ministers’. Last May I graduated, but with a pesky little problem of a 40 page paper left to be written. After starting the paper I am not sure it will be the paper I want to write after the experiences of the last four years. Normally we include a ‘ministerial profile form’ for the assigned reader to get to know us. This time we are asked to write a ‘brief’, one paragraph introduction instead. I wrote the introduction yesterday in a very scholarly, matter of fact way. I hated it. I have always had conflicts between writing what was ‘expected’ and what I felt had to be said. I identify with Isaiah (42:14). I may not have the nerve to actually use it, but this paper is the ‘final hurrah’ for my career as a professional student so perhaps I should. Here is the introduction I would like to use:
“Once upon a time, there was a small boy named Eddie C. Freeborn. He was born to a couple who quit being a couple a few months after his birth. His mother later remarried and, at her insistence, his stepfather legally adopted Eddie. Eddie changed all of his names instead of just his last name because he wanted to forget the father who did not want him. He became “Ed Montgomery”. “Ed” is not a name he is fond of but he can live with it: most people find “Edward” too formal and they will not use his nickname which he much prefers. Ed’s father (stepfather) and mother fought often and separated frequently. Much later in life, in a fit of rage, Ed’s mother told him that his father abused him. Ed never confirmed this with his father; he does not remember any abuse. The idea however, haunts him. Ed was damaged by his childhood and refused to admit it. Ed grew up, married, fathered three children, served in the Marine Corps, and finally became a teacher. A tragedy with his oldest child left him among the walking wounded, and a tragedy involving his youngest child crushed him. He wanted to be a deacon once but was rejected by his pastor and parish. He joined the Secular Franciscans and began to heal. Then he heard about a program called “LIMEX”. The next four years of identifying, understanding, testing, deciding, accepting, and rejecting were the most rewarding four-year period of his life.
Will I use it? Mebbe so, maybe not….