Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Lots of Change
It is now almost a month since LC#1 graduated from high school. There was a whirlwind of activity starting with prom, spring concerts and culminating events. I have blogged briefly before about her challenges with learning disabilities. This praise is long overdue. In the last year or so we have witnessed a transformation as she has come into her own and begin to stake a real claim to her own identity. She wants to study social work, and completed a wonderful career internship in a geriatric care facility with grace and responsibility and true empathy for a population she once said she could not relate to. She was formed in music by wonderful teachers, and by Lutheran Summer Music where she learned to embrace music as a core part of her identity, both for herself and how she shares her joy quietly but fervently with others. She worked diligently as a musician and with tears in my eyes we cheered her on as she was given an award for excellence in musicianship by a music educator who encouraged her, and a senior award. To see her march in with those who had the greatest grade point averages and be recognized for her talent was incomparable. In the end she chose a college where she can both pursue her major and music as a non-major.
I have watched her come out of her shell at times to challenge others prophetically and watched her demonstrate empathy that comes from experience. She is a little less quiet and a little more self-assured. And in a month an ten days she will go to college, armed with a roommate she knows and a willingness to connect with music, her profession and campus ministry. What more could one ask for than to send her off beyond the nest? I can celebrate the God who made her just as she is and who stood by us when we wondered what that would mean.
(OK that is easier to say than do, but I WILL not helicopter!)
It is now two and half weeks since I said "so long, farewell" to my internship parish. I do not like goodbyes, especially not where I could have just as soon stayed! Hence the trip to NOLA. The advantage of internship in your back yard is ease of convenience. The disadvantage is we're all still in the same county. I have tried hard to encourage the necessary break. Hence the trip to NOLA. Reading an obituary of someone I provided pastoral care to is a twinge.
Still unpacking that last day. The tears at the godspeed. The standing ovation for my sermon which took my breath away. And the fact that a 95 year old parishioner who I think I have on three or maybe four occasions commended as death seemed imminent, the last occurring the day of his wife's funeral, got up, and dressed and came with his son and walker in tow, to hear my last sermon. A man with whom I have had the most significant ethical, eschatological, sacramental conversations, stand at the foot of the cross conversations-which is to say, he has forever marked my faith journey by what he taught me probably far more than anything I could offer him. He came to say goodbye and godspeed. I can celebrate that God who redeems us, who shows us through others just what that means and who reminds us who proclaim that we proclaim not only for others but for ourselves that forgiveness and grace and community.
It is now two weeks since I sent LC#1 off with LC#2 to explore and revel in a trip as sisters to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. With the wonder that is Facebook I have heard a couple times some snippet of their experience. A preview of the empty nest. After all, in the fall LC#2 is a junior and we prepare again. Who knows how the Spirit will be at work?
Somehow in the midst of all of this I am to write essays for the church and baptism and the Lord's Supper. We can all say many things about these topics, and I sure I will over 20 pages. And the process which will unfold regarding my discernment, and hopefully call and ordination. Only God knows where the path leads, yet somehow in the end it comes down to those breathless moments of relationships and how God is connected to us and sends others into our midst in ways that shape us irrevocably. Moments where we can rejoice, moments where we cry bittersweet tears and where we stand in awe.