According to Bowers, obedience is a two-way street built on mutual trust. This instantly brought me back to my last meeting with my bishop almost thirty years ago. I sat in his office feeling very small on the visitor side of his enormous desk as I explained to him that I could not bring myself to accept the parish assignment he was offering me, and again pleaded with him to keep his promise to send me back to Rome to finish my studies. He became enraged and shouted "I am your ordinary! You promised obedience to me when you were ordained!" I was shown the door and told that I had no time to think about this and that I would be expected to move into that parish immediately. In the long hallway, embarrassed chancery staff looked away as I passed. I had become a problem. A willful child. Bold. Cheeky. Bad. I left the building realizing that for the first time in my life, I was entirely on my own.
I had to laugh when I read these words of Father Bowers:
He chuckled as he recalled certain aspects of his old life as a parish priest. “In almost 20 years, I never paid a bill, I never vacuumed,” he said. “Now I do all these things. There’s something very humanizing about cleaning the toilet.”
My husband says I still don't vacuum.