Flowers bloomed in front of the columbarium at the Montreat Conference Center.

#ConfessionsOfAPastor – Psalm 51

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A devotional from Rev. Dr. Aram Bae

I’m tired of this.

We’re three weeks deep, and I am over this (truth be told, I was over it after day 3). 

I’m having a hard time with this stay at home, work from home, take an afternoon stroll, Zoom everything, FaceTime some things, record this and that, email non-stop because everything is an emergency and changes quickly, must stay in front of the situation and not behind, do this and that creatively and online, look at the screen, multiple screens at the same time, grab your earbuds, where the heck are my earbuds and why are they always tangled earbuds: stick a fork in me, I am done.

I have an ongoing thread with my two best friends from college. I call it #ConfessionsOfAPastor. See, they are the kind of friends who know the ugliest parts of me, and still they respond with deep affection and loyalty. They are also quite blunt and direct with their honesty, which makes for funny texts. Knowing they will keep it real with me, I confess my professional mishaps with them. Because I want to keep my day job, I will keep it at that.

But I will share this with you: most of my #ConfessionsOfAPastor involves unfiltered ventings. Most recent example: I hate you, COVID-19, and I want to give you, dirty virus, a piece of my expletive mind. Hashtag included. 

I know for many of our introvert friends working in ministry—this quarantine lifestyle is the preferred method, albeit without the unprecedented pandemic. You are quarantine Jedi, and kudos to you. I am not. I need to see people in person, I need to hug my people, I need to laugh within 2 feet of you, I even need to be annoyed and irritated in person because how else can I practice my manners?! I am a pastor who misses her people, and this COVID-19 is the thorn in my routine. (Can I get an Amen?)

But that’s just it. My routine has become interrupted, but my health has not. I am not dying alone in a quarantined hospital bed crying for the touch of my family’s praying hands on me. While I know that’s one end of the extreme, it is sadly a reality. And so my confession begins. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am only inconvenienced. Have mercy on me, Lord for I am good at complaining and whining. Have mercy on me, Lord for I have breath and can take a stroll outside. Have mercy on me, Lord, have mercy on me. 

I hope you are better at dealing with our current situation. I hope you are accustomed to seeing light in the midst of darkness. I hope finding the silver lining is a positive habit of yours. I hope the attitude of gratitude grounds your daily experiences. But—and this is a big one—if all of that doesn’t come naturally or easy for you, then God bless you twice over. Yes, may the Lord our God bless you deeply because these trying times calls for desperately honest measures.

So, here is my honest measure. May it encourage you to offer your own, for the God we call Holy and Merciful is also Emmanuel and Friend. “Hi, I’m a pastor, and I am a blessaholic. So, come Lord, and bless me so that I might be faithful in the work you call me to do. Even if that means being a temporary Zoom Administrator.”

In the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer—Amen.