Thursday, July 15, 2010

I found it.

I spent most of the day reading old writings. I was looking for perspective, and strength, and I found them. As I was trying to go to bed just now, I came across an e-mail I’d written to my advisor over a year ago. As I was graduating, I wrote her this:

“I’m called to be a safe person in dangerous places.”

It was the second time in the day that I’d come across that sentence. When I first spoke it, I didn’t know if I was talking about the fields or the street. I hadn’t even thought of the river. I just knew I was sent to the edges.

It’s more than a notion. It still fits, completely right.

I can’t put my energy into homeless ministry right now. I’m a cancer patient. I need to focus on my health. As it is, I will be sick off and on for the foreseeable future. I don’t know if I will get better. I can work with Safe Ground when I'm emotionally and physically up to it, but I first need to take care of myself. 

But I’ve known for two years that I have a ministry as someone living with cancer. I wonder... Can I take this presence into the hospital? Can I be that, even there? It’s too much to ask of myself, I know. I’ll be a sobbing, vomiting, miserable mess, when the side effects get to me.

But I wonder. If I can go into that place, with that intention, what can I do? What can God do, if I can be that open? And that calm?


it's margaret said...

silly you --don't you see? you already are! ministering in and through....

Ann said...

I love that - "a safe person in dangerous places' - a call for all Christians IMO. Can you be that safe person for yourself, too, in the midst of the danger of cancer?

Kirstin said...

Margaret, thank you. (People keep telling me that I am, but I don't see it.)

Ann, that's another way of looking at it. I don't know. But it's equally important to see if I can. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

you might well be interested in rae leung's ><
she's 34 and has been living with cancer for 2-3 years. this link highlights an exhibition she set up ion hong kong. blessings on you and your life and work,

Debbie of Boise said...

O Kirstin, I love your posts even as I tear up reading them, which as you know is fine. I hear your voice in the words you write. You have gift of integrity and it is a precious one. You have a real ministry in this blog. Your writing, your life inspires me to be my own true self and to keep on being faithful to the ministry God has been me. God bless you real good in this most difficult, dangerous time. I love you. ((((Kirstin))))

Caminante said...

As others have said, you already are in that place doing ministry.

I can't help but hear these words that my friend, Debbie, the founder of Ecclesia, common cathedral, had read at her ordination... and think of you with all that you have written these past two years, your calling to street ministry....

Is this not the fast I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke... then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. (Isaiah 58.6, 9)

It sucks that you've been given this new fast of canser... it's not one you chose but your writing is setting free others, including this reader.

May you hear God's voice in the midst of this dangerous place saying Here I am.


Kirstin said...

Thank you, Anonymous!

Debbie, wow. Thank you.

Caminante, I know your friend Debbie. I met her at a street ministry conference in SF a year ago. I wear one of Ecclesia's crosses.

"Here I am." Yes.

Two Auntees said...

As I read this post, I thought, "Wow, what a ministry!" Your writings are a ministry for so many.

Of course, you can take this presence into the hospital. Even as a sobbing, vomiting miserable mess your presence and your strength will minister to others who are ill, caregivers, friends and family. Just show up God will take care of the rest.

Prayers and thoughts are with you continually.

Kat said...

As you yourself have said, God didn't give you this. He can use it, though, to work in you and in others. Already there are people whom you haven't yet met who will be changed by knowing you in this time, along this journey, and right now they only know that something is missing.

Ministry is what you do all the time, Kirstin, because you are so honest.

Love you.

suzanne said...

Praying for you, Kirstin.

Grandmère Mimi said...

“I’m called to be a safe person in dangerous places.”

I love that, Kirstin.

I told your story to a young doctor friend of ours, starting with how we gave you whiplash on our first meeting and continued with your story up to now. You knew quickly that riding in a car with Tom in New Orleans is a dangerous place for a safe person. ;-)

Love and blessings.

Kirstin said...

Mimi, you totally cracked me up. :-)

Love to all.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

What the others said so much more eloqqqqquently!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Kirstin, I'm glad I cracked you up.

Carmel said...

FWIW, love, I think that ministry isn't only what you do; it's who you are. It's who you've been for a very long time -- longer, even, than you've been an actual minister. So even as a sobbing, vomiting, miserable mess, even as you take care of yourself, you can't help but minister to others.