United and Not in Anger…

Why can not people see outside their horizon of vision at what God has in store for them?

Monday morning I awoke to disturbing news: One of my classmates had been reported missing by his family:

http://oaklawn.patch.com/articles/police-resume-search-for-missing-oak-lawn-man

Our Seminary community has ebbed and flowed into a close-knit caring community of Seminarians and educators who are connected because how the trees have swayed and spoken to our spirits from God who has called us to this ministry. We struggle and laugh and learn no matter where we walk from in our common journey of spirituality. When one of us suffers, it all impacts us.

As news and social media began to unravel this story, and as members of the community shared this many asked “What we could do?” What could we do but come together as brothers and sisters in Christ and pray, and so I asked and organized a prayer vigil for Monday evening. I sent word out to our local churches, as well as listserves of fellow/former seminarians now pastors and Churchwise, our national church body.

I asked for prayers.

One former seminarian posted this after stating she would pray “There is a lot of depression at LSTC.”

Depression lurks and seeps into various gardens in this life. Teachers are depressed at the bureocracy they face in their schools and the lack of parential involvement in their classrooms; Police officers and firefighters are despondent because of the horrors of what we as human beings do to each other on a daily basis; Pastors and church leaders are trapped in despair because of that lack of love in this world and because of the pain that comes crashing through their doors and how inefficient pastoral care band aids sometimes are.

We as seminarians are bogged down with massive loan debit, with essays proving that we are worthy of the call God has set before us; papers and balancing job and study life; stresses of families that we must care for. Sometimes we retreat into safe, silver bubbles where no one can reach or speak or harm us; we forget to extend a loving hand to those around us who are experiencing the same suffering; we do not practice self care.

To say that there is a lot of depression within our community is false-for where there is darkness, candles carried by loving hands are lit. People are prayed over and for; tears are shed and those who feel as if no one hears, they are heard. We join in one strong voice asking the power of the Holy Spirit to descend, to envelop and to drown our sorrows so that we are once more able to walk in the light, passing the peace to others and infecting all with God’s Good News and Grace.

That comment made me understandably angry. There is nothing that I can do to erase perhaps our church’s not thinking outside the box with her specific call BUT listening to the winds which pour love from the eternal Valley and rain down upon our heads, we formulate how we can continue God’s mission for us in new and different ways.

There is a reason why He has called us, all of us to doing His Will and mission. We must remove the rose colored fabric from our gaze and be vulnerable to the piercing light of Heaven.

You Can’t Go Home Again?

..or can you?

This past May, I ended my year of Ministry in Context or in layman’s terms my year of serving and learning in a teaching parish. This church has a richness in its liturgy and ritual which can reach throughout Creation and connect us along with prayer in a sacred relationship to the Most High.

But, as the phrase goes this meant that I was ruined for any other church setting. This meant that I carried the beautiful ballet that evolved from each rising of a Sunday morn with me wherever my Gypsy soul traveled. This also meant that because my spirit had been swirled and poured out into the rushing waters of life, that my gaze would now view the world before me critically.

There had been an occurrence of this several months ago when I returned to my home parish celebrating the life of a long standing, long serving member and as seen as one of the young leaders in my congregation when asked, I served during the funeral wherever I was needed.

Gypsies are seen as wanderers, laying their heads wherever they can, greeting the day however they choose, carving out life what order they wish.

This Gypsy, however craves order and ritual.

The funeral was one of uncreative chaos and I found myself struggling to remain afloat; I found myself rushing for the serene sands along the banks of this river, wanting to never be swept into this calamity again.

Discernment of this call to ministry finds one alone surrounded by a lower prairie of green peering to see the fragile violets that wind slowly around the earthen goddesses. We are now open to how worship works, what we should be listening for and how order plays a massive role in fellowship, hearing Good News and kicking open the doors of the church.

So as this summer waned and bowed from the stage of Life, I was cringing about returning to this congregation who had lifted me up from drowning waters and gave me rebirth so that my soul could hear what the Creator was speaking. I needed the rhythmic chanting and prayers ascending as incense; I needed the communal feeling before the Table.

Yet I knew that none of us as children of God are perfect and in my own imperfection I should pay homage to this, my family as Sunday rolled around. And as I swept through those doors greeting and sharing the peace with familiar faces I realized that this place would always be open as a beacon of wondrous light for me; that God had nurtured me here so that He could send me out, elsewhere…

The beginning or the end?

My life is going through a transition.

I shared my faith story with one of my camp counselors over the summer and ended with these words “No matter what titles I have, the most important to me is being a Mother. In the end that is all God will ask of me: was I nurturing, caring, responsible and loving not only to my own children but to anyone that came across where I resided and rested.”

As our children grow older, parents have a tendency to want to rise up as phoenixes and race across the dying evening skies leaving their floundering brood to fend off the darkness that will surely fall. God placed into my hands this mission of ordained ministry and as excited as I was, I needed to make sure that my Tribe also could continue the journey in these challenging waters.

My first born, whose name means “God rules” or perhaps in this case “the princess of God” is beginning her last year in high school.  Those who are blessed in having teenagers know the groaning pains and the surprise joys in traveling , more so perhaps because we have forgotten our own journey along this same, twisted, dusty and pebble ridden road.

My second born, whose name means “a mystic, a seeker” is beginning his last year at his elementary school.  Because of what I experienced with him as he came into this world, because of his gentle nature and because he wavers in my shadow I continue to be amazed each day.

And yet, this is the beginning of the end.

When my husband and I first dated and then later on became engaged, we spoke about having four children. 16 years later we have fulfilled half of that dream, and now are at the cusp of bringing another child into this world. We had names picked out and lingered happily in baby aisles at Target.

And yet, this perhaps is not to be.

Genetics, and excuse my language, can be a bitch. The longevity within the women in my family is profound but with this greatness and wisdom comes complications when having children. I experienced part of this as both my children came into the world. I have not yet reached the dreaded age of reason (i.e. 40) however my body is not in sync with the rest of me, as well as my spirit. Slowly I am coming to the realization that I may not be able to bear any children and my soul weeps.

Never to feel the stirring of life within.

Never to feel the first kicks and elbows.

Never to sing and cradle my stomach.

And yet, this is the beginning of the end. Time is turning over soft leaves that have been stained with life into my hands. My Creator has widened the horizon; there is more for me to learn and so I remain under the beautiful wilting shadow of a Tree and listen, listen to what He has to say.

This is the beginning of my third year in Seminary, of starting a new position immersed in ministry, of saying goodbye to everything that my heart is used to and stepping out on faith into the unknown. Internship looms in the grayness of a rainy afternoon, not because it is full of fear and interpretation but because of the promise of baptism which will flow into my very being over and again each day .

This is the beginning of my husband’s journey into academica once more, free to pursue his dreams after being firmly planted in the trenches, working with those who have no voice and guiding those whose voices have yet to be cultivated.

This is the beginning of thinking about opening our hearts and home one day to a child whom although does not come from within, does come from above.

This is the end of what I am familiar and what I have known. This is the beginning of stepping out of my comfort zone, kicking open the doors of the church and being involved in ministry as the Creator has always wished me to be.

Being Flexible in the Holy Spirit

Writing has been a way of expressing my Gypsy spirit….

Words have always been a vehicle for those who feel that their voice only explodes in daffodil petals in the wee hours of a beginning dawn; that the wind carries one’s passions away from those that it could impact. There have been times that I have felt I had no purpose or meaning; that I was just another strange child mixed up in the cosmos.

I have found that through my words, my dreams and aspirations; my anger and frustration; my love and my heart firmly are rooted along with the green goddesses which sprout outside my window. Pouring my weaknesses into fragile paper and pen allows me to focus what my soul is needing to the core, and allows me to each rising beautiful moon to grow stronger, as the Mother of Us all continues to cradle us in Her arms. I have found that I celebrate my ancestry and those who await me in the Valley, cheering me on with eternal drums, as I stand as a testament of how proud and regal our people can be.

Writing is an essential part of who I am and who God, my Creator, my Father and my everything has called His Gypsy child to be.