Wipe Off Board

January 20, 2012

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The new semester has not really begun yet. The last semester has not begun yet. I am looking at my wipe off board and remembering. I remember writing the first August term classes, due dates, dates I would start the paper or project and the satisfaction that came with each scratch through line marking completion of the project, paper or test. Because my board has been well used but not well cleaned, there are traces of each semester lingering in red, blue and green.

I am a list maker. I am an organized organizer who tries to plan as much as possible to eliminate surprises, disruptions, distractions and whatever else can come between me and getting the work done. I am sure all of my priest friends are laughing.. its okay. I laugh to knowing that all this planning will be useless, worthless and unrealistic once I am back in the world that includes due dates, meetings along with emergencies, unexpected calls, crisis and all the other daily happenings that come from working in the world of the church. There is comfort still in knowing that for now I can live within the bold and colorful markings of due dates.

The last item I wrote on the board was our graduation date. Highly unlikely that I would miss that even if it wasn’t on my wipe off board. I wrote it in blue to lessen the harshness and frankness of that particular date. It lingers like the last note of a song, the scent of the last embrace shared between lovers- not tangible but fully present. There is no escaping the reality that sooner rather than later I will leave my home and my family of friends again and set out on a new adventure.

I have had an amazing adventure here at VTS. I have loved and I have been loved. I have been given so many opportunities and I have thrived. It makes sense that leaving a place that has loved me as much as I have loved it would be cause for anxiety, grief and loss. Why wouldn’t it? I became comfortable in my own skin here. I was able to use the gifts I have been given to do the work I have longed to do and when I messed up I had people around to help me sort out how that happened. And when I succeeded, I had people around to help sort out how that happened as well.

I have been surrounded by some amazing people since this whole discernment process began back in 2005 and to be honest, since this whole journey began back in 1977. That, I believe, is the work of God. We meet people along the way who can transcend our due dates, our project deadlines and hold us accountable to being present in the moment and witness to the changes that are taking place within our hearts and in the world around us. You can’t put that on a wipe off board.

Tues, 03-13 at 10am- my heart will be changed

That doesn’t seem appropriate or right- totally unrealistic. Instead, these are the items too fine, too real, too important to be planned for, to anticipate, to be scheduled. The responsibility to this part of formation is to understand that people will enter our path, walk with us in our journey and will leave thumbprints on our souls and hearts. We are challenged by our relationships, we are comforted by those we love and love us and even in our very brokenness- forgiveness is offered. You can’t plan that. You can’t plan your times of weakness, your times of strength, I can’t plan when my legs will work and when they won’t but what I can count on- or have counted on here in seminary, is that when my days are dark, my mind clouded, my hope lost, my heart broken, I have some amazing friends who love me and whom I love.

We have been through a great deal as a class and as a seminary. We have been challenged and we have met those challenges. We have learned and we have taught. We have prayed and we have been prayed for. No one got here on their own and no one can do this work that God calls each of us to by ourselves. I need you. If there is any thing I could or would write on my wipe off board in permanent marker it would be this:

I need God and I need people in order to fully be who God has created me to be. Everyday.

I was searching for my “song of the day” to post on Facebook. I try to post a thought or quote for the day and a song for the day to help give me something to think about and/or hum during the day. I wanted to post Jane Siberry’s “Life is a Red Wagon” but the only video I could find was of a sweet children’s choir singing the song. Although precious the quality of the recording was one that distracted from the lyrics I most wanted to have resonating in ears which are:

the life is the red wagon rolling along
the life is the red wagon simple and strong
the life is the red…is the red…
oh, it’s no big deal
but when the feet are draggin’

you pull me
and I pull for you
you pull me
and I pull for you

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I am going to need some help pulling during these last couple of months and I promise I will offer my arms, legs, back and heart to help pull you to when your feet begin to drag.  I couldn’t have made it this far on my own and I don’t plan to enter the next part thinking I am a one woman show.  Thank you for the laughter, for the wine, for the love and for your very presence in this journey.

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Water

January 2, 2012

Water.

It is what holds us first.  Before we ever know the touch of human hands, the feeling of air on our skin, the color of light, we know water.

Water.

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I came out to God sitting on a dock in the middle of the night surrounded by water.  I sought the very essence of my beginning, the element I first knew in order to find the strength to say the words I carried for so long in my blood, in my mouth, in my soul I released those words into the element I knew to be strong enough to hold my greatest fear- a part of me because in the beginning it held all of me.  I’m gay.  I said it over and over and over to the rhythm of the water lapping at the underside of the dock and when I couldn’t say it any more, I cried tears- water and salt blended in the heat of my body, the heat of the Summer evening, the heat of my fear and sadness and just like that- released.  Undone.  All gone.  Washed away.

Water.

Nothing stills me quite like water.  Ocean, lake, river, rain.  Nothing reminds me of how small I am and how big this world is, how big God is- quite like water.  But I am made of water and I am connected to the water.  To the water in others.  We, without knowing each other, share the bond of water.  When the storms are raging within, torrents of fear, uncertainty, doubt, pain- I am quieted by the embrace of another, a place to lay my head, a touch that speaks quietly to my sea and says, “be still and know…  be still and know… be still and know that I am God and you are loved.  Be still.”

Water.

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On the eve of the day a decision would be made that would affect and change my life forever, sleep eluded me, taunted me, hid from me and I chased its shadow down to the lake.  This night in May, underneath Centaurus, Virgo and Crux I, with my back against the smooth wood, arms wide open, imagined a million what ifs while the rolling of water underneath rocked, rocked, and rocked me to stillness.  And then it was quiet.  The “what ifs” drifted away on the current of the wind and I dipped my hand into the chill of the water to remind myself of my baptism, of my birth, of my connection to God and this earth and my connection to you and what that is worth.

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Water.

The last sunny day in July, I drove along the familiar road to the place I had been to a million times before.  I ate of the fruit in the valley, up the hills and around rocks until the destination was revealed and I planted myself beside the falls to read and dream, weep and sing and say my goodbyes to the mountain.  As hot as it was the water was cold and I cupped some in my hands to pour over my head.  Three times.  Three times.  Three times and each time carrying away tears.  My water, your water, the water of the mountain.  I was now a part of the cycle that, over time, cuts away rock, that moves mountains,  that gives life to the foliage, that will flow into new life.  I may not be there, but I will always be there.

Water.

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