“Well, my story makes me feel rather small” was one of the first things I blurted out in response to Carla’s request for us each to summarize who we were at our first Session training meeting. Others in the group had shared amazing stories about their work, such as speaking engagements in front of thousands of people, conserving our natural resources, and living overseas for years. I have been a stay at home mom for a little over 5 years, and with no family in the area, my life has been rather myopic trying to meet the seemingly endless needs of the infant and toddler years. I sat in that first meeting thinking I didn’t have anything as interesting to share. A crisis in my job is trying to figure out how to be at T-ball and Soccer practices at the same time while magically making dinner appear – not exactly riveting.
My husband and I went through years of fertility struggles including specialists and miscarriages, so don’t get me wrong, I don’t for a second forget how blessed we are to have two healthy children. But as I said in that training meeting: now that my kids are 5 and 7, I feel like I am just now able to lift my head up again and look at the world around me. The other members coming onto Session were so warm and supportive and reminded me that my job is important and has value too.
From the very first meeting, I could immediately see the amazing compassion and energy in this really neat group of people. We read the Books of Order and Confessions and we did the work we needed to do, but I also had a great time getting to know them better, and our meetings were full of laughter. We shared our strengths but were also transparent in our weaknesses. Even though we may have different backgrounds and responsibilities, one of the group said later that she could hear in our personal stories a collective “come as you are” statement. And I thought: that’s it, it is why I love being at GPPC, that statement could be said about our entire congregation. Come as you are. Be who you are. We love who you are.
As a lifelong Catholic until a few years ago, I admit I have a bit of a learning curve as I join Session to get a better understanding of its mechanics and my personal responsibilities on it. Like others have mentioned in this space, I also had some trepidation about joining. Would I be able to add value? Can I handle another responsibility in my already crammed schedule? But I am going to keep reminding myself of that statement to “come as you are” – and the rest will work itself out.
Katie Templeton lives in rural Hanover with her husband and two young children. This school year she starts work at Heritage Christian Academy in their preschool, helping teach three different classes of 3 year olds. Her column concludes our summer series of reflections from our incoming class of ruling elders.