Monday, April 15, 2013

Finding words

Birthdaversary cakes
A few weeks ago at a gathering of many friends who are rarely together one of the people in my life who I don't see in person often mentioned that I've "seemed pretty quiet lately."  As someone whose main interactions with me are virtual, she had a point. "I'm doing well," I told her, truthfully. "I'm just processing my hospital experiences differently than I usually process stuff. I've been left without words, at least so far."

Date night - one way we kept our birthdaversary this year
When I last wrote, at the turn of the year, I had the assumption that I would process for a little bit and then have many many things to reflect on here. What I didn't count on was just how full of words my life would be as I shifted into high gear academically. The last quarter of school held the final weeks of my hospital chaplaincy work, my introduction to Biblical Hebrew (hard!!), and my first try at taking three classes without downshifting my two jobs or failing my family. There were a lot of words coming in, and my capacity for turning around and reflecting back out was severely diminished on all fronts. We made it, it went okay. I decided not to take Hebrew for a second quarter.

I'm now a good three months out from my CPE experience, and a lovely spring break full of old and new lady friends, long talks with beloveds, time spent with neighbors eating and laughing, several fantasy novels and plenty of family time away from winter quarter. I turned 35, Andrew turned 33 and our marriage turned 8.  It feels like a good time to write here again.

One of the unexpected consequences of living in a world where CPE is behind instead of ahead of me is that suddenly my future as an ordained person seems close enough to almost touch. I am realizing that after this quarter all my lasts will begin - my last summer as a postulant, my last year in school, my last stretch of time without a weekly Sunday commitment, the last time in my life where I can belong to a congregation the way a layperson does and, as a priest, I will never again be able to. I thought a lot about this as I sat with J in the darkness of the 5am Easter Vigil, about how special it was to sit with her holding candles and how someday it will seem more normal for my children to watch me up front than to sit with me during mass.  All to say, I think the coming year will be a sweet time and for the first time in my postulancy (the period of time I have been in formal training as a future priest) I don't feel like rushing through. I want to enjoy every minute, looking eagerly forward but not in a rush because all of it, perhaps especially the longing and anticipation, deserved to be lived into and experienced fully.
Fire and Water,  near sundown on the first day of Easter

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