Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Vignettes

It's been an interesting day so far - some ups, some downs, and right now, a whole lot of tired. I just wanted to share some little scenes from my day, and maybe some bigger stuff, too, if that happens.

When the munchkins and I got to the church today, we noticed the flocks of geese in the field that separates Old Donation from the elementary school next door. There were easily seven or eight dozen Canada geese in the field, all hanging out and foraging through the damp, dewy grass for food. As I walked up to the church, I saw the organist come out - still in his black cassock and white cotta - holding two old hamburger buns. He said, "I'm going over to feed the geese. There are so many of them out there!" And he did. I watched him tearing off bits of bread for the geese, who clustered around him gratefully. It was a wonderful sight, peaceful and sweet and loving.

The gospel lesson today is a neat one, not as awful as they've been the last several weeks. I knew it was coming, because I'd read it in advance last week, but I was still completely taken aback when we got to the last line: Your faith has made you well. Our rector preached an amazing sermon on this text (which I will link to once it's on the parish website), and I'm glad it was available in hard-copy form, because I didn't hear most of it. I had been transported to a night in December 1997, a night that was dark and scary, when I was struggling fiercely with depression and losing. And I knew I did not have the faith to make me well. I still don't. I don't have the mustard seed faith Jesus talked about in the gospel last week. And reliving that awful, terrible, frightening night, I closed my eyes and clung to the cross hanging around my neck, and tears rolled down my face.

I served as a healing prayer minister today, which means that I had the privilege of joining the altar party during the eucharistic prayer, and then stood in the back of the nave for anyone who wanted to receive the laying on of hands for healing. This is a powerful ministry, and it has always been an amazing reminder to me to get myself out of the way, so that God can work through me. And I know that by offering these prayers, I am healed every bit as much as the person I pray over and for and with. This is the second time I've served in this ministry at Old Donation, though I'd served as a healing prayer minister at my former parish, and was the first time I actually had customers. One thanked me very sweetly, and one offered me a blessing in return. It was really something special. I returned to the choir loft with a big smile.

Backing up a little bit to the eucharistic prayer - I've written before about the Lord's Prayer, and how I used to always hold hands with my children during this prayer in church. It has been quite a keen ache to come to this moment in the service, and to have my children be somewhere else. I'm in the choir loft and they're in the nave below; they're not even at church at all; whatever. So this morning, the chalicer reached for the hand of the young acolyte standing next to her, and he reached for the hand of the acolyte next to him, who is about 14 or 15 years old. And he very subtly reached his hand just the slightest it toward me in invitation. I knew better than to make eye contact or smile at him; I just lightly took his hand, and felt my heart expand in my chest.

After church, the kids wanted to stop at a park for a little while. The playground there was swarming with children and families, all out enjoying this gorgeous fall weekend. I found a tree to sit under, because I just wanted to relax, and they took off running here and there, coming back to check in with me every so often. I enjoyed the sun on my skin, the breeze through my hair, the laughter of children, and the romping of all the dogs. After a while, the kids came and sat with me, and we chatted about big things and small things for a time, until it was time to take them home to their dad.

I helped them carry all their things into the house. Last night, when we'd gone out to get my daughter's cooler-weather clothes to keep at my place, I'd insisted she pick out a bag to keep their books and pencils and papers in for their piano lessons. We were at a store where the most expensive item is $15.98, and she picked out a very nice messenger bag that was $6.98. She proudly showed this to her dad this afternoon, and he made his trademarked "Psht!" noise. Then my son remarked that they had the laptop backpack there for him, that I'd offered him last night since he needs a good - but not-wheeled - backpack for carrying his laptop to and from work... but that it had the books that he and his sister had purchased at the bookstore last night inside it. And I got another, even louder, "Psht!" But nobody got the chance to tell him that the kids had used their gift cards from last Christmas, because he walked out of the room. And once again, I have to think, I'm glad I'm walking this path.

I drove home in tears. I'm tired. After dredging up that awful night from 1997, I had all sorts of crap floating around in my head - the typical depressive stuff: I've never really been capable of loving anyone, all I ever am is a drain on the people around me, everything I've ever accomplished has been a lie, I just fake my way through everything, I've never been anything but a screw-up, all my decisions are wrong wrong wrong. Bleah. So I set to accomplishing the household tasks still ahead of me - changing my sheets, getting the neverending laundry going, scrubbing bathrooms, mopping floors, cleaning the hedgehog's cage and giving her a bath. I've done the first two on that list, but after I finish this post, I plan to indulge the tired me for a bit. I haven't decided yet whether to nap in my newly made bed - I love fresh sheets! - or out on my couch. But I will lie down for a time, and it will be in front of open windows, so I can enjoy the kiss of these cool autumn breezes on my skin.

Peace be with you today. May you be made well by your faith, whether it has grown to mustard-seed-like proportions yet or whether it is still as minuscule as mine. Or, as our rector pointed out that the KJV puts it: thy faith has made thee whole. I wish you wholeness, healing. Confidence in your worthiness. Hope. Peace. Love.