I would say yes but, then, I’m only speaking for myself.
I remember having a massage once on the free afternoon of a conference week – one of those holy getaways when I was seeking both spiritual and physical refreshment – and as my muscles were being kneaded and punched, I started crying. Weeping really. Actually, drooling.
It was right out of that scene in Broadcast News when Holly Hunter had her five minute cry – except mine was a little more pathetic.
Did you see this yesterday in the NY Times Magazine by Heather Havrilesky? It’s about the increased number of strong women characters on television – Leslie Knope, Nurse Jackie, Carrie Mathison – and how they appear strong but are actually very shaky in their own private moments:
“the more astute and capable many of these women are,the more likely it is that they’re also completely nuts“
The best clergywomen I know can finesse pinball game-esque crises on any given day. They might be thrust into a morning staff meeting only to be deflected off into a hospital emergency, then launched quickly into a family crisis, bouncing off a phone call from angry Church Ladies to an evening meeting with the Deacons to the dining room table at home where a child’s science project is being created. We hold it together. We are impressively focused. We. Get. It. Done. But then we crawl into bed and weep. Or we pour ourselves a drink. Or we make an additional appointment with the therapist. Or we double up on the practices our spiritual director suggested.
Yes, we are a little crazy.
I hesitate to use that term because I have friends with serious mental health issues. And yet, all of us – I’m convinced – have mental health issues. Or spiritual health issues.
We are smart. We are accomplished. We can officiate a funeral at 10, attend a Parent – Teacher Conference at noon, do premarital counseling at 2, start a sermon at 3:30, make dinner for the family at 5, run a load of laundry at 5:30, and head to another meeting at 7. But then we collapse a little bit – either physically or emotionally. Who can keep doing this?
Many women – teachers, dentists, lawyers, non-profit managers – find themselves in this situation. We are smart. We are accomplished. But we need a release from the pressure. We become a little crazy.
A friend of mine shares that her mom always said, “Don’t stick your hand in the crazy.” Clergywomen – among others – intentionally stick our hands in the crazy. It’s what we do.