Thursday, December 27, 2007
An Auld Lang Syne Friday Five
Singing Owl writes: "It is hard to believe, but 2007 is about to be history, and this is our last Friday Five of the year.With that in mind, share five memorable moments of 2007. These can be happy or sad, profound or silly, good or bad but things that you will remember. Bonus points for telling us of a "God sighting"-- a moment when the light came through the darkness, a word was spoken, a song sung, laughter rang out, a sermon spoke to you in a new way--whatever you choose, but a moment in 2007 when you sensed Emmanuel, God with us. Or more particularly, you."
This could be hard. It's been a pretty spectacular year. My first full year as a priest, and a blogger with the RevGals! Both of these things along with many other blessings have created a kind of amazing synergy resulting in some significant changes in the way I see myself and move through the world. But, hey, let's give it a whirl!
1. Easter. I baptized my first baby. She was so beautiful. All sleep and angel sweetness. There was such joy in welcoming her to our community. But before I could even get my vestments off, I was summoned to the ER where one of my clients was in a serious mental health crisis. Worlds collided, the heights of joy and depths of sorrow all in one day. And God was with us in the midst of both on that Easter day.
2. The Yurt Adventures. My trips to the Yurt were definitely memorable. Each a unique jewel of time and solitude, each with its own gifts of wisdom, each just what I needed at the time. God is so tangibly present in that place.
3. The first day of school and my encounter with M, the challenging student. She set off a growth spurt for me that sent me reeling a bit but it all ended with some really important lessons the teacher needed to learn in her own life-school. And of course the last day of school brought us full circle as we were able to get closure together. She too was a blessing...another God sighting.
4. And no review of this year could be complete without talking about L, and my visits to the jail. A chance meeting...as if there is such a thing in this God filled life! I met him the day I "tagged along" for a little orientation on how the ministerial folks do the Sunday afternoon services at the jail. L was one of two young men who came that day. He struck me with his earnestness about Scripture and a kind of sweet innocence. Strange things to find in the county jail! When I returned a couple weeks later to do my own service he was my sole congregant. We had a long talk that day, and I asked him if he'd like me to come see him again...he said yes and we have been at it ever since...across two counties now! He knows you all pray for him, he smiles when I mention all my "pastor friends on the Internet." God has been so present in all of our conversations. We laugh and cry together and the air fairly dances with the presence of the Spirit.
5. There is a tie for #5...Lessons and Carols or my little Vespers of Gratitude and Release with my SD. One so big and publicly celebratory, the other so personal and intimate and transformational. And yet both speak to me so clearly of who God is in my life, especially in this year. It has been a year of finding my voice and place in public ministry, of celebrating that in all sorts of sparkling and wonderful ways. But it has also been a year of going deeper, of allowing others access to a more vulnerable side of me and in a strange sort of way "allowing" God access to that side of me too, of letting go, making space, being quiet, being more authentic. The Vespers celebrated and allowed healing for that.
I don't think I could possibly pick a single moment for that bonus. Somehow, whether it was an ordination gift, someone has been praying for me especially, or I am just the recipient of pure grace, this year has been a series of moments, strung like beads of gift upon gift. The sense of God present has been most palpable. It truly takes my breath away how often it does happen that I KNOW that God is truly with me. And that IS a bonus. Another bonus and gift in my life this year have been the friendships that have come from this ring. I think it's so apt that whomever it was that created these internet linkups decided to call them "rings" because we are a circle, I feel encircled, surrounded by the warmth and witness and friendship and support of you all. I know well from my professional life the power of reflection in the presence of compassionate witness. What has become so clear in this year is that it works in this little corner of cyberspace as well. And for that I am grateful. A blessed New Year to all.