Saturday, July 30, 2005

The neatest thing happened today

I did my last regular volunteer shift at the Olympia Food Co-op today. (It would have been next Saturday, but I forgot and signed up to help with the peace meditation at the same time.) A man came in whom I've seen frequently across the cash register; we've made friendly conversation, but we don't know each other's names. He asked how I was. I told him I was leaving; we talked about that and he gave me good wishes. He left and I went on with my shift.

Not long later (it's a short shift), he came back, with something under his arm. I was busy with someone, and we barely made eye contact. When it was quiet again, my shift partner (whom I'd never met) asked if I was leaving. "Yeah, why?" She pointed to a box on the counter. "Then this is for you."

My anonymous friend had run downtown to Compass Rose (import store in Olympia) and brought me a present. I opened the card first; there was a magnet with the kanji for "peace," and a note thanking me for being who I am. It was signed with his initial and "Olympia 2005." In the box was a black wooden box with little animals painted on it.

I have no way of thanking him, and he didn't want me to. People can be so incredibly cool. I never would have thought of doing that--and now it's a way I really want to be.

(For a link to the aforementioned peace meditation, click here.)

Friday, July 29, 2005


My mother took me shopping for clothes today. I was nervous; the least of the reasons why is that I don't like shopping and have next to no experience. I needn't have been. We had a good time, and a good conversation over lunch.

What's past is over. They're focused on supporting my adventures. Praise the One Who Is.

And also for this:

Sunday, July 24, 2005


I realized today that I've been saying goodbye for over a month. Finally decided to stop feeling pre-emptively homesick--I need to be happy while I'm here. It's silly to miss my friends when I'm with them. I've had the same conversation over and over: "I'm leaving..." "Wow, that's so exciting for you--goodbye." It's wearing after awhile.

I didn't realize how hard this would be. The last major move I made was to come here, two days after my 18th birthday. I'll turn 35 in September, in California. I've lived my entire adult life in this place. All these relationships hold my history--let alone that I love everyone I'm leaving, and they love me.

So why on earth would I do this? What would make a hippie from Olympia move 700 miles from everything and everyone she knows? How on earth can some Greener think she hears the voice of God?

Because I do. In this path, is life. Of course I'm scared. I know I'll be challenged in every way possible. And I thank God every day for calling me. If you've experienced this, you don't need a translation. If you haven't, I don't know if there is one. I could say, I love academics. That is true. I could say, there's nothing else I really want to study. Also true, but there are cheaper and less life-disrupting ways to do that. I think what happened is that as soon as I got the guts to speak this desire, it became the only choice I had. Truth and I ran smack into each other, and bang. It's deeper than a passion; it's a voice on the other side of a door flung open. "Done wandering yet? Good. Let's go."

I need to get dinner and feed a cat. I'll write more about exactly why I'm doing this later.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

First post

I've never kept a blog before, and will be learning how to do it as I go. I set this up to keep in touch with my community in Olympia, and to hopefully be a useful voice in the general blogosphere. I moved here to go to Evergreen in the fall of 1988, really liked the town, and it became my home. I'm leaving in three weeks to start seminary in Berkeley, here: I don't yet know what it means for me... priesthood, teaching, or something I've never thought of. Most people, when they take this step, know where they're headed. I know that I need to go have these adventures and find out.

About the title: I grew up in the Episcopal church, and was very active particularly as a youth, at the same time that I struggled with it. I left shortly after college, primarily because I had had it with patriarchy. I fell in with an interfaith community in town, and stayed with them for eleven years. I went to the odd Christmas Eve service, and never really left the church in my heart, but I wasn't regularly practicing. The summer of 2003 found me missing liturgy, but still when I church-hopped I went to Quaker meeting. Then in August, Bishop Robinson was elected. I found out about it through Episcopalian friends on a message board who were discussing General Convention. I've never been with a woman and I certainly wasn't thinking of the priesthood; still, I was shocked at how proud of the church I was, for affirming an openly gay cleric from New Hampshire. "They did that? I'm going home."

That Sunday I drove an hour to St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle. I had to celebrate with somebody, and I still had connections there. I went to the healing rail after Communion. Some poor woman asked what I needed prayer for; I opened my mouth to tell her, and burst into sobs. I knew then that God was playing tag with me, and I was It. God was saying to me, "I love you and you matter. I have work for you." The depression and frustration and struggles would resolve. I still had to figure out my path--still do--but I had one.

We hear so much about the uproar since, about churches struggling on one side or the other and what will happen to the Anglican Communion now. I hope and pray that others experienced this event in the same simple, profound way I did: as God loving and affirming every human being, including them.

Anyway, I knew I couldn't drive an hour each way to church every week, and would have to gather up my courage and try my local parish. I did, and was welcomed there as well. The youth director and I knew each other from fifteen years before, when her older kids and I attended diocesan youth events together. We were sitting in her office, catching up on the decade since we'd talked. She said, "You'd remember R." "Yes, why?" (He was one of my priests in the Seattle area, when I was in high school, and had since moved elsewhere.) She was speaking of this priest's best friend. God playing tag, again. I went home and looked him up, and he is a friend and mentor still.

A year later, I was sitting in my priest's office. I'd gone in to talk about monasticism; really, I was just poking around. He said something about being ready for the next step. I agreed. Then, it came out of me. "I'd go to Berkeley right now and be totally happy." I hadn't meant to bring that up, and didn't know I was going to. I'd thought about seminary off and on since college, but didn't know I felt that strongly. He answered, "Go." Gave me spiritual and tangible support to help that happen. I applied, and had transforming experiences when I went there to be interviewed. Still to my happy surprise, I got accepted.

And so, that's the door I'm walking through. I don't know where it will take me, but there's nothing more right than this. In the metaphor of "playing tag with God," I know that I'm caught and will be held forever. Going to school now, trusting the Spirit, throwing myself into everything this means and letting questions of vocation answer themselves, is my way of tagging God back.