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.


Catherine said...

Wonderful! You got tagged! I can't wait to see where all this takes you. The other day, in the car, Troy said, "Kirstin has really come a LONG way since our first summer here." It is so true! You are really starting to shine!

RevGlen said...

What an adventure awaits you! Becky and I both think of you often, and your concept of "playing tag with God" truly fits. God has truly tagged you, and it will be fun to watch as you are called to tag others, in whatever way God has in mind for you!

Mimi said...

I also must chime in with another "I love the Playing Tag with God" image! Wonderful and I look forward to continuing the journey with you!