It seems like a long time ago now that this conversation began. But really it was only last summer. My SD and I began talking in earnest about disempowering the critical voices , what it would take to do that in some sort of formal way. For it was clear that there was a need for that, to in a sense "exorcise" them from the powerful sway they held over me. In their fullest power they constituted a hazard to my spiritual life, an obstacle to authenticity and kept me from being who God called me to be. We talked about all sorts of things and finally determined that since so many of them have their seeds in my religious life, that their disengagement should also probably have some "liturgical" aspect to it. So sometime last summer, it became my charge to construct "something" that achieved this. It has been through many incarnations. It has been frustrating at times as I have attempted to force it into being, mold it into formats that did not fit. We started out, only half in jest, talking about it as an exorcism. From there I thought "confession" as I wandered about in shame-fog for awhile. But nothing worked, nothing fit, and I kept having to say every month as we met, "No, not yet." But then, I was ready and pieces began to emerge. First there was the Litany of Gratitude and Release that wrote itself in one sweep. And for a long time, only that. And then, one of the Soul Sisters from Bible Study passed along a Sweet Honey CD with an amazing sung sermon that I still cannot hear without weeping. And then there was the amazing weekend of training in November and driving back for Martinmas Vespers, and I knew....it was a Vespers service....with that Sweet Honey song Sing Oh Barren One and my litany....the other pieces found their way in....Psalm 103, Canticle 11, the clay jars reading from Corinthians....I invited C to add a piece and she chose the renewal of the baptismal covenant from the New Zealand prayer book...very fitting. It all seemed to center around light....how very appropriate that it just "happened" to finally end up in Advent!
So tonight in my beautiful little jewel box church, we had a small and lovely candlelight vespers. Just the two of us. In contrast to the grandeur and volume of Sunday night, this was all quiet, simplicity and peace. It has been a journey to this night....one of discovery, of letting go, and of becoming more authentic. It has also been a journey into joy...an unexpected grace and gift. Released. Blessed. Grateful. Joyful. So many gifts already before Christmas even comes.