Friday, May 16, 2014

Happy Anniversary to me....

Yesterday was the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood on May 15, 1976. The only reason I know this is that on every anniversary of my ordination I get an email from Louie Crew (who teaches at Rutgers, is a big deal lay person in the national church and founded Integrity.) And Louie's email always says something about the line from "The Messiah" by Handle that says, "How beautiful are the feet of he who brings good news...."

Sometimes Louie suggests I get a pedicure to celebrate my anniversary. This year the subject line was "See how beautiful your feet are...." followed by a lovely collect and best wishes.

I've never heard another priest talk about his/her emails from Louie on their anniversaries, but I bet he sends one to every priest...or at least to every priest who has ever been at General Convention with him. I'm sure (if you're not ME!) it would be easy to do on a computer...log in the email addresses and dates to send into some program, write the email for the year and then it would happen automatically.

(There is a lovely Indian woman at a local package store that always say, "Thanks, Love" to me when I buy some wine. Being an only child, I naturally assumed I was the absolutely only person she said, "Thanks, Love" to. Then I realized, standing in line, that she called everyone 'love'. It was a painful moment to realize how I consider myself the center of the Universe so much of the time....the 'norm', the 'template'....)

Which I why I know I'm not the only person Louie sends Anniversary greetings to. But when I get them, since without them I'd never remember the significance of May 15, I feel special and acknowledged and deeply rooted.

It was a great service, by the way, and the next day--the day of my first celebration after almost a year doing Deacon's Masses, the St. James Dancers did their first Dance Eucharist to the songs from Duke Ellington's 'Sacred Concert'.


Bill Pregnell, one of my professors at Virginia Seminary came to Charleston, West Virginia to preach my ordination sermon. I remember not a word of it.

I have pictures, some framed, of the event--so long ago, so far away.

As a priest, I've just reached the outer reaches of middle age--38. That's good news since this afternoon, standing out on the deck in an atmosphere that obviously wanted to rain but couldn't quite manage it, I, for the first time, marveled that I'm 67 years old! How did that happen? I feel about 38 (except for some aches and pains I can't explain)

I never intended to be ordained an Episcopal priest and in fact went, in some ways, kicking and screaming to knell at Bishop Atikinson's feet and have, over the years often questioned what the hell I'm doing here and why on earth I didn't go do something like be an English Professor that would have made much more sense.

But here, 38 years and 1 day after the fact, most of what I feel about how I spent much of my life is rather sweet and satisfied and 'at home with' in an odd way, like I ended up, against all better judgement and my own desires, exactly where I was supposed to be.

That's not bad, I wager, for how to spend the better part of your life.

I'm still swimming in the irony of the whole thing, but, quite honestly, it's been a 'long, strange trip' and I've mostly enjoyed every moment.

That what I would wish for everyone when they come to the end of 'work' and look back on those years. Really....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.