This week we had an interesting day of IME (Initial Ministerial Education) training. This is what the Diocese provides to those who have been ordained and are curates in a parish. It can be difficult or it can be quite fun. Today I wasn't sure what to expect as both curates and training incumbents were asked to draw a picture of the curacy so far.
Here is mine:
As you can see, I never won art prizes at school. But I'm the one on the diving board, juggling the items in blue at the top of the page. My family are closest to the pool, cheering me on but also looking at the clock. My Training Incumbent (TI) is the red squiggle at the steps acting as coach - being close beside me but ultimately unable to do things for me. There's an audience, signifying the public nature of the job, and a panel of judges, signifying its accountability. The diving board has an end. sometimes I feel like I can dive off, other times like I want to go back from whence I came. God is the board, but also the pool which is deliberately only bounded on three sides.
I confess I had been a bit sceptical about this exercise but found it quite revealing and affirming. My TI had drawn a positive image of growth and development, and commented that my picture wasn't as confident as I often seem. I can certainly talk a good game, but on the inside it's a different matter.
So far, so good, I think is probably the headline.
Whether I'll want to dive off the end of that board and whether I'll belly flop if I do, is another matter altogether.