Deep Water

Its very quiet here tonight.

After an insane 14 weeks, 14 weeks of challenge, change, work, work and oh, yeah, more work; we have reached the pinnacle and gone past it. We have gone further on into our journey of up and in.

I talked to my sister in law today, and we agreed that everyone is having exhaustion dreams. I dreamed last night that I was trying to get all the children into the bomb shelter at church and there were walkers (zombies, for you not Walking Dead fans; and yes, we seriously have a fall out shelter) at the doors just 10 stairs up. And the children were in costume, and there were so many. And they would not hurry.

And then I woke to the sound of gulls screaming down on the lake.

Today is the first day that I’ve felt mostly alive and in control of myself in many weeks. Crazy what this sort of a journey does to you. Me.

Casey and I talked about what we should do, now that we are childless tonight. He suggested we sit indian style on the rug and hold hands and just talk. This was quickly vetoed. He’s decided that wasn’t such a good idea anyway and has gone on to making bacon for BLTs. Much wiser, I think.

I am still, I think, processing the weekend. How I went from a state of constant tears to a state of absolute calm. This is due, in part anyway, to the Bishop being himself. If he had been any other person I would have persisted in my ridiculous wailings, once I did the rehearsal though, and met with him, and heard him call my beloved six year old by her secret nickname I knew it would be ok.

I felt like the choir was tentative with our version of Down in the River to Pray. I felt like the service was very long, and I feel like I have it all pretty much locked down in that little (huge) box of images I store up for some reason unknown to me now.

I can see the way the candles flickered as Julie came up out of the water, how just for moment she was not herself. I can remember how Cindi’s hand felt as it held my own, how it felt to have the hands of the Bishop on my head. That moment seems suspended, held for all time in the space of breath. He said, are you ready? Not knowing what else one could say in that situation, on ones knees in front of a Bishop and like 150 people, I said, yes. And then I just closed my eyes and allowed all of the rest of it to happen.

I can still feel the shape of the cross he made on my head, firmly, with his rather large thumb. Can still feel the pressure of fingers on my skull, how my knees shook on the kneeler.

I didn’t hesitate on this path, I didn’t think I was in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing. I felt tired and like I hoped class would be randomly cancelled, but not wrong at all.

And I feel called to more things, like this cannot be the end of the journey. This cannot be all there is, singing on Sundays (but only during the year, never in the summer, we’re weird that way), maybe tentatively learning organ things, showing up, being present. I feel like there is more, like I am not there yet.

The other night on Call the Midwife, Sister Juliene had the opportunity to meet an old love, one that she, basically, abandoned when she entered her first phase of postulancy.

He said that he could see faith growing in her like some flower he would never know the name of.

She said she was sorry. That she didn’t ask faith to grow and to bloom.

He said that he respected her decision.

And she said that it wasn’t a decision. It was a call, and she answered it.

And I thought, A HA!

Because that is how I feel, like I did not wish for this, I did not want this or ask for this. But there it is, this tug, this constant and steady urge to BE more, DO more. Like it was not something I knowingly cultivated or prayed for, just something that is.

A surprise bulb in a flower bed, one you can’t remember planting or buying, that pokes its fragile head up through the cold dirt on the most unlikely day.

I read also, that truly, at its core, the process of discerning pretty much anything is to be still and to listen. To discover where in your life you are at your most true, your most happy, your most fulfilled.

Maybe that’s at the bar for you, maybe its a library, your bed, school, the bathtub, the stage with those bright and burning lights making your makeup melt as you are absolutely lost in the character that is, at that moment, YOU.

For me that place is two places, in the arms of my husband, and in the nave at church.

The process is a long one. Several years. I could end up with folks on my committee who don’t like my brother and thus don’t like me, people who have never felt called to do any single thing in their lives. I hope that is not the case. I hope that I can communicate in a way that is comprehensible this small and burgeoning bulb planted in the rich soil of a kneeling for prayer, in the baptism of my children, in the cross I feel on my forehead, in the joy that feeding our city’s hungry brings to me; of organ pedals under my feet and a worthy and sure teacher, of a new song to sing.

Casey said that when he looks at a whole project, a whole lawn or property, well its easy to be overwhelmed. He looks at it in small pieces, small parts, and then, suddenly, its done.

So I will look at it in small pieces. Meetings, talks, questions. I will look at it in the sun breaking through the Lazarus window and lighting up the white robe of a dear friend or my daughter. Through the very meaningful gift of a chocolate cross given to me by a soup kitchen guest on Easter Sunday.

I will look at it from a place of respecting my family, and all that I am to them, to looking at the world and all that I could be.

One of my favorite sentences a priest can say is, go in peace, and pray for me, a sinner.

So please, go in peace, and pray for me, who does not believe she could ever in a million years be worthy.

Please.

That’s when everything fades or falls away, because the chains which once held us are only the chains which we’ve made. 

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