By Rev. Mary K. (Sellon) Huycke | PNW Clergy Delegate to #UMCGC 

I came home from a retirement party last night to find that the shower and toilet had backed up and overflowed, running down an interior wall into the garage and taking out the electricity in that part of the house. With 5 days until I leave for General Conference, this is not what I needed.

“It’s a metaphor for General Conference!” my friend Gwen crowed. 

Rev. Mary K. (Sellon) Huycke
Rev. Mary K. (Sellon) Huycke

As usual, she’s right.  Human interactions around emotional topics invariably create waste products – frustration, anxiety, fear, anger.  These emotions aren’t bad; they (like all the others) need to be felt and allowed to clear.  When they are ignored or minimized, they have a tendency to either leak out or pile up to a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment and rush out explosively.  Those are the moments when General Conference gets ugly. I can’t control anyone else, but I can work to manage me.

My clogged sewer line is turning out to be a great reminder to tend to my emotional/spiritual health during the coming conference and be compassionate with the people around me.  I’ve noticed this week that my anxiety “tells’ are showing.  I’ve been impatient in meetings and a bit short-tempered. The piles on my desk have slumped and melded into one large pool. I need to slow down and do some inner work before I leave for Portland and think through some strategies for re-centering once I’m there.

My plumber is on his way over now, along with our contractor friend. Just like I don’t have to figure out how to fix our plumbing system by myself, I don’t have to “do” General Conference alone.  It’s a good reminder to utilize the tools and practices that I know help keep me centered and to ask for help from others BEFORE things get messy.

Ahhh, the doorbell.  God bless plumbers.

Mary K. (Sellon) Huycke works as a leadership coach for clergy, congregations and judicatory bodies navigating change and transition. She has served as a DS and as pastor in settings ranging from new church start to redevelopment and co-authored several books, the most recent being Pathway to Renewal.

Photo Credit: “SOS Plumber” by Flicker user clement127, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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