Interpretation is in the eye of the interpreter

Today’s been an outwardly quiet day. Inwardly quiet, too…enough that a query of, “How’s your day?” elicited mental crickets…or a blank, round-eyed stare if you prefer that image.

Which makes my fit of moodiness worth some side-eye and shrugging: what’s HER deal? Can’t tell ya. Maybe it’s pushback from the universe/the Adversary on my feeling as if I’m getting philosophical traction and mental buy-in on this whole routine thang.

What I know is that it’s late (late) afternoon and all I want to do is read stuff. But I promised, even if I already spent my optimal writing window in eating pancakes.

In the midst of all that, one of my back-burner pots has bubbled up: what have I done lately for my Mission Interpreter* gig? Well, nothing. Which is not a deal, since the next time I’m on deck is in March.

My brain working the way it does, however, I’m pulled into an ongoing musing: Mission Interpreter and Justice and Peace Coordinator — two roles covering the same territory of service. Why two? Why not one? All the practitioners of these roles that I’ve encountered (at all the Presbyterian levels) are women wired for service, who hear the whispers of the least and lost and can’t hold back from taking action. And the actions they take are similar, regardless of role. So why duplicate? 

As I was formally assigned my role this summer, I checked with one of my friends — who happens to have once or twice served as Mission Interpreter in my presbytery. Is the difference that one role is for direct action, and the other is for advocacy, I asked? She agreed that I’d pinned down the distinction: Justice & Peace folk are, in a way, the lobbying face of our organization. And Mission Interpreters are to wave their arms and point, “Over here! Come work alongside these folk!” 

My predecessor pro-tem and my newly-assigned J&P colleague had a burst of insight during our summer meeting and energized a discussion around developing new ways to serve. I came in late, since I was shedding my previous role. But it’s just as well, because I don’t know enough to have had ideas. Also, my J&P colleague, a quintessential person for the role, strikes me as having all the things it takes to get this idea off the ground.

I gather they’re carefully not stepping on my toes with this new work. Perhaps, then, what I need to be doing is finding out whether I have a leg to stand on…or whether I can sit down and let them run with this.

I feel like the inverse of Esther: “Perhaps you are there for just such a time as this?” except that I’m already here, and I don’t know what time it is. God, what on earth is your rationale in bringing me here?

Oh, and I’d like an answer soon because, if I remember correctly, we’re supposed to hold a phone conference about this initiative “in October.”

*Elected role within the Presbyterian Women synod-level Coordinating Team.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: