I'm not very good at removing stains from garments.
This just recently occurred to me, again, after taking a shirt out of the washing machine. I had soaked it and scrubbed it and it looked all right until I held it up to the light and thought I still noticed a very very faint discoloration. Earlier I was soaking a pair of pants with black marks on them. I had gotten home after meeting a couple of church visitors that day, and noticed these black marks (ink? dirt? something else?) and had no idea where they came from. I sprayed, soaked, and scrubbed. The stains on the pants got lighter but did not go away.
My mother is great at removing stains. I am sure that if I gave these garments to my mom she would be able to get these stains out. It is possible that she just doesn't give up, that she uses more elbow grease, that she knows some secret stain-removal ingredients or that she has stain-removal superpowers. I am not sure which. Is it a symptom of a terrible character flaw? When I took that shirt out of the washing machine again, and saw the faint outline of the stain, I wondered about it.
* * *
Recently there was a raging social media discussion about pastors who are introverts, and how they (we) can possibly be effective pastors. Someone sort of suggested that it was a shame that Lutherans don't have holy orders so that introverts would have a place where they would be more comfortable serving. The poster intimated that we were perhaps unsuited to "the rough and tumble of the parish."
I don't feel attracted to holy orders.
Just so you know.
The parish is "rough and tumble" in a lot of ways. Some of them are hard for me, but I am not sure if it's because I am an introvert. It may be more a function of both my peculiar gifts and neuroses. Other parts of parish ministry (aka "the rough and tumble) are exactly why I love it so much: all of the ages together, watching people grow through pain and joy, the chaos, the singing, the people who are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am thinking about the fact that I am an introvert, but also the fact that it is not all that I am, and wondering what it is about us sometimes: why do we reduce each other to some simple labels? Do I do that to myself, too? Sell myself short with some explanatory labels?
* * *
I am not good at getting stains out of clothing. Maybe it's because I am an introvert, not suited to the rough and tumble of the stain-fighting household. Maybe I give up too easily. Maybe I have other gifts.
* * *
I just started reading this book by Swedish author Fredrik Backman. It's called my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry. It's about a little girl named Elsa who is 'different' and who his teased and bullied by her classmates, but whose grandmother is her champion and superhero. The little girl talks about her grandmother's superpower, and says that everyone has them. One of their neighbors' superpowers is making a cookie called "dreams."
I hope that, at the end of the story, Elsa discovers that she has a superpower too.