Saying Goodbye to Uncompensated Labor

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For Lent, I’m giving up uncompensated labor. ❤️

I don’t say this with snark, but rather, with intention. I think this is one of the most important decisions I’ve made for myself in a while.

I’m funded at about 1/3 time this year (the most funding I’ve had in this work so far! Really grateful for it too). So I’m going to start working 1/3 time with my 1/3 time Community Chaplaincy position. Plus, I’ll add a bit of time for other gigs and community projects.

I’m going to spend the rest of my time doing some personal care work and preparing myself for future part-time position/(s) I hope to add to Community Chaplaincy.

This feels really good.

I’m choosing this beyond Lent as well. But as a practice for these forty days, I’m going to learn how to prioritize so I can do in this the best way. I love all the things I do, but I have to choose the most important priorities and let the rest fall away. I also need to let myself rest too.

So here we go! Wish me well!

Renee Roederer

As for the other things I hope to add…

— If you’re looking for someone to lead gigs (retreats, workshops, keynoting, writing) I am so enthusiastically up for that.

— If you read my writing frequently, appreciate it, and want to give a gift to support that work, you can do that here:

https://www.paypal.me/ReneeRoederer

— If you want to support the vision of Michigan Nones and Dones and this role of Community Chaplaincy among students, I am deeply grateful to have partners in this work. It means a lot. In that case, email me at revannarbor@gmail.com.

Love to all of you. Thanks for supporting me in this decision and much more, for being a really great community of people in my life.

Ash Wednesday: The Love We Cannot Lose

Ash Wednesday

I suppose I’ve had an intriguing relationship with Ash Wednesday over the years. At times, the day has intersected with some challenging moments and chapters in our lives.

I’ve participated in Ash Wednesday. . .
. . . on the very day an opportunity fell through, and we learned we wouldn’t be making a move we really wanted,
. . . on a day when I was acutely aware I was about to lose a job,

and most challenging,
. . . on the exact date that one of the most beloved people of my life received a terminal cancer diagnosis.

In the Lenten tradition, Ash Wednesday serves as a recognition of impermanence and our own mortality. In various chapters of my life, the date has intersected with real occasions for grief.

And Ash Wednesday can be a powerful tradition:

On one hand, the day can provide an opportunity to feel something cathartic. In our broader culture, we often push away public expressions of grief. There aren’t enough occasions to honor our pain and the pain of others in visible ways. But on Ash Wednesday, people actually wear that pain and acknowledge it in each other’s presence.

And there there is a real expression of hope within this tradition too. Pain, grief, and mortality — real as they are — are not always the final word. In times of great anxiety, we can lean upon one another in speaking this hope:

No matter what we fear,
No matter what we lose,
No matter what we hear,
No matter what we’ve done,
No matter how we’ve failed,
No matter how we’ve been failed,
No matter what has been done to us,

We are loved with a LOVE we cannot lose.

I really do believe that.

And in a time of fear, grief, and anxiety, we can believe and display that every human being is absolutely Beloved — that each and all are worth the Love that forms their being.

Even in the face of death itself, it’s a truth that can be lived.

Renee Roederer

My Silly Dream Must Be a Prophesy

Warm Slice of Zucchini Bread

After sleeping about an hour, I woke up at midnight from a dream about communion zucchini bread. It was called… wait for it…

The Zuccharist.

Surely, this must be prophesy. Surely, this must be a beckoning call for us to practice the Zuccharist this very week by buying or making some zucchini bread.

Will you enter this prophecy with me?

Bonus Points if you send me a picture of zucchini bread you are about to enjoy.

Bonus Bonus Points if you write the liturgy for eating zucchini bread at home among family and friends.

Renee Roederer

Re-Creation

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Dr. Cindy Rigby was one of my theology professors at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and one of my most significant influences during my years there as a student. On a number of occasions, I remember her saying something really wise about play, rest, and renewal, and I still think about it from time to time. I’m going to paraphrase her here so this isn’t an exact quote, but it’s close to her point. She said,

“So often we think about play, rest, renewal, and Sabbath as recreation, time away from the rat race… an extended period of time when we leave that rat race behind so we can rest up and then re-enter it again a bit more rejuvenated. But… what if play, rest, renewal, and Sabbath can be re-creation? So that they create us in new ways and actually change us? So that we don’t re-enter the same way? What if they change the rat race itself?”

That’s really wise. I want this re-creation. I imagine we all do.

And gratefully, I just had a full week of it. I stepped away from my typical rhythms and spent a week with loved ones in San Antonio. (Including lots of time holding a new, precious baby! How lucky am I?) And I’ve come home a bit different. Re-created in a way… with new hopes, new commitments toward better rhythms, and new priorities (actually this is a return toward…) the priorities that have been there all along but not tended to as well as they could be.

The trip re-created me a bit. Glad for it. I’m ready to re-enter my best priorities.

Renee Roederer

Who’s To Say Healing Doesn’t Heal?

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[Image description: There is an orange-brown background, and toward the right side of the image, there is a circle of symbols of people made from paper. They are holding hands in the circle, and a light is shining in the middle of the circle.]

Sometimes, we have a zero-sum mindset about rest, care, and personal growth.

We feel anxious or guilty about prioritizing rest, care, and personal growth because somewhere deep down inside us, we believe… if we choose to prioritize these for ourselves… deliberately receiving from others, setting up daily rhythms of personal care practices, or engaging extended periods of intentional, internal work… we believe… we are somehow taking from others.

Some of us have also been socialized to view care in these ways.

I’m not talking about falling off the grid entirely (though by all means, it’s helpful to do this temporarily here and there). I just want to make a claim that rest, care, and personal growth are not necessarily selfish, which is something we can easily fear or feel guilty about. This zero-sum mindset easily creeps in amidst parenting, pastoring, organizing, and caregiving.

We, ourselves, are intrinsically worth rest, care, and personal growth. We matter.

But also, when we keep our connections with others in mind, this is not a zero-sum situation — our rest, care, and personal growth is always embedded in relationships. It is always for the benefit of the community. We are refreshed and energized. We bring our fuller selves to our relationships, roles, and work. And when our rest, care, and personal growth stay in contact and connection with others, we pay attention to the systemic forces which make it much more challenging for some to experience those extended times of rest, care, and personal growth. Our care becomes more intentional here, and respecting people’s agency, we practice care outwardly, prioritizing others also. We take care of each other. We cultivate care spaces in mutuality together.

I wonder why we think these are divided from one another — personal healing and receiving versus community care work. As if we can only do one or the other.

After all, who’s to say they aren’t absolutely connected?

Who’s to say that healing doesn’t heal?

Renee Roederer

Your Worth Is Not Measured By Your Productivity

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[This image is by France Corbel and can be found in a number of places. Image description: There is a light pink background, and in the center, there is a coffee carafe filled about 2/3 with coffee. The words, “Your worth is not measured by your productivity,” are written both above and within the carafe of coffee.]

We can become so task-oriented that we neglect being relationship-oriented.

We can become so busy with work that we neglect time for care, tending, and growing.

We can become so convinced our worth is wrapped up in productivity that we (temporarily) forget our worth is intrinsic to who we are and unmeasurable.

Our worth is not measured by our productivity.

That has simply never been the case. But we’ve internalized this somewhere.

Somewheres…?

capitalism,
the Protestant work ethic,
ableism,
scarcity-thinking,
urgency-thinking,
greed,
school culture,
family culture,
workplace culture,
any kind of competition culture.

But I’m convinced of this: When we seek — however imperfectly — to ground ourselves in the truth of our own intrinsic worth, and when we seek to view our neighbors in the same ways, we make space for people to do the same. After all, aren’t so many of us longing to hear this? That our lives were never meant solely for productivity or measured by productivity? That there is much more to who we are? And that who we are matters in and of itself?

Renee Roederer

 

 

Writing Down Words of Kindness

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[Public Domain Image. Image Description: Five, upright Scrabble tiles spell, ‘Words.’ The tiles are maroon, and the letters are white. Some other tiles are in the foreground and background.]

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, but I do choose rhythms I hope to practice.

It’s almost the last week of February, and as is typical well beyond the new year, some things come and go, and some things are practiced in flux. I have been doing one thing relatively consistently, however, and it’s a practice I’m going to recommend to you also.

I’ve started writing down kind words that people say to me.

I keep them in a folder. Sometimes, these are kind words from total strangers. Often, these are loving words or kind comments of affirmation from loved ones. And you know what? There are a lot of kind words out there in the world. Even when the news cycle is tough. Even when we bear personal stress. This practice has helped me see how abundant such words are. (Not that I doubted that, but it’s just even more obvious.)

And this has made me much more intentional about speaking kind, loving, affirming words to people. I know how good it feels to receive such words. I think I’m giving them in even more abundance — or at the very least, with more intention.

I recommend this. It’s a lovely thing.

Renee Roederer