I am a little on edge today, snappish when I don’t mean to be. Constantly answering the question, what’s wrong? With untrue words: nothing. Well not really untrue, there isn’t anything specifically wrong, its more about what is right.
I am overwhelmed.
I just saw a photo on Facebook of two ladies whom I adore and respect, in their opposing team sweatshirts for the Final Four game tonight. It made me think about the learning curve.
From my first night at choir, where John helpfully introduced me to the body of the choir, and not as Jared’s sister; but as my own person, to really hard annual Parish meetings, to the long road I didn’t even realize I was walking; to here, now.
I know its hard when a church gets a new priest, I’ve heard about it from my husband and my mother in law, because the Catholic church cycles priests more regularly. And I’ve lived it at my church, because my priest was relatively new when I started, in a stilting and awkward manner, to sing in the choir.
I know that we can be exhausting, my whole family, not just my brother and I. We are so loud, so excited, we have so many dogs, so many things to say! So many drinks and so much good food. We are do-ers, we are players, we are, I truly believe, love in its human and tangible form. Jared and I especially seem to get an idea in our heads that must become reality and as quickly as possible, when the good starts flowing it just sprays like a fire hose, sometimes knocking down people in our path.
We don’t mean to knock anyone down, we just want our great thought to be heard and realized. (ASAP).
Its good that on this journey of a thousand days (because it has been a little more than a thousand days), that I have not, at times, been able to rush. That I couldn’t say, I would like to be confirmed tomorrow. And then be confirmed tomorrow. The 14 Weeks of Heresy revealed so much, not just facts and history, but the souls and the needs of the people who journeyed with me through those 14 weeks.
Casey’s eyes keep filling up. He’s worn sunglasses all day, even indoors, and I know why. He says, I’m trying to keep it chill, I know tonight will be an emotional night. I think he is remembering his own confirmation, choosing his punk rock, mohawked older brother to be his sponsor, because he shared more than DNA with him, because of the bond of little sibling to big. Of course he was only nine, and only doing what all the nine year olds did in 1984, at St. Mary’s.
But his brother was leaving, departing, pulled ever deeper into the illness that he lives with to this day. Casey says, I thought I could pull him closer in, I thought if I asked him to do this thing, I could save him.
And of course he could not, because only in Narnia and Harry Potter do nine year olds actually save the world, or anyone, for that matter.
I try to hold these things gently, to make feelings and memories into words gently, to paint them with a small and soft brush for you, because I am aware that they are closely held and guarded, I am aware that some things are still sore, still heartbreaking.
Casey says that my expectation of a new and clean robe in which to do my work, is unfortunate. He says that I need my patchwork robe, because it will remind me of who I am, and how I came to be here.
I don’t normally name names, and today I will only name some. Phy, who has welcomed and loved me before she ever knew me and inducted me into her secret club. Kelly, who I believe loves me for myself. Freda, who irons my robe when I leave it balled up in the kitchen on a day when I have too many things going on, who supplies me with during-the-sermon cough drops. There are others, but I do not know for sure that they would appreciate being named. There’s been a learning curve with some of you, trying to get past the fact that I am your rector’s sister, that I am a person apart. I know that you love me, I saw it in your tears on Thursday. I love you too.
I’m scared that somehow something terrible I’d completely forgotten about will be revealed, that I will be pushed away. I’m afraid that I am not good enough, that the wide wide grace maybe isn’t as wide as I thought. I’m afraid that my stained glass glory light is too bright, or not bright enough. I googled this morning, how do you get kicked out of the Episcopal church. Better to be forewarned.
My choir and I, we will process out to the garden, we will sing Down in the River to Pray. We will light new fire. We will have our own Seder, in which we recall our redemption, the history of our salvation. The lights will come up, the organ will sound, the cry of Alleluia will rent the quiet Grand Haven night. And I will become, officially, one of you, as will my fellow confirmants, and my dear, dear friend who has bravely allowed an immersion baptism; who looks forward to it.
She will emerge from her pool, and we will wrap her in towels. As my other mother said, heaven will rejoice, and I will rejoice with them. Another one has joined our ranks, charged with being the hands and feet of Christ, with letting the wide world in, with all the damage and good that can do to a body.
I am scared.
I am overwhelmed.
I love you.