Monday, November 07, 2005

St. Aidan's

About a month ago, I visited St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in San Francisco. I'd wanted to go there, but felt shy about it because we stole their rector. I expressed that shyness to my mentor, whose home parish it is and who knows Nedi. She said, don't worry about that, they'd love you and you'd love them. Go. I went the first Sunday that I could, and she was right.

I met a couple at the bus stop, that first Sunday--which happened to be St. Francis Day, and Blessing of Every Small Dog in San Francisco. We befriended each other pretty much instantly. They showed me around, and then publicly introduced me as a first-year seminarian and an Olympian. "She knows Nedi." (I'd met her twice.) I was met with a wave of friendliness. I liked the community right away; you walk in the door knowing nothing, and can feel the joyful chaos. I knew I'd come back, but my October weekends were busy with a visit to a friend and then Reading Week. I volunteered at Dymphna last Friday, and came back to worship yesterday.

Dymphna... Molly (my mentor) said I'd fit in here because I knew that Dymphna is the patron saint of madness. (Google her and see why.) "St. Dymphna's Whatever Happened to Bingo?" is St. Aidan's annual fundraiser for their afterschool program, Aidan's Way. Basically, I waitressed at a drag show for church. Where else would you get to do that? (It was a cabaret, not strictly a drag show. But I'm not sure how many of the nuns were cross-dressing.) I don't remember when I've had that much fun. I did it so I could see this production, and to meet people. Someone on Sunday remarked on me just jumping in... why on earth wouldn't I want to? I need a faith community that can be my home, and one I can get neck-deep busy in. These people know how to have fun, and how to live their faith. Yesterday, I could see that my being from Olympia had been a cool thing for them--but they'd have welcomed me just as much if I were from anywhere. That's just who they are. Open and friendly and engaged in life.

They announced yesterday that they've called a new rector. He's a gay man from Baton Rouge, and I think another friend here at CDSP knows him. I really, really want to work with/be around women clergy, but I can be open. The vestry and search committee are really excited. His name is Tommy Dillon, he's my age, and he'll be here in February.

On another front... I went to see a counselor at Kaiser last week. We talked for 45 minutes about depression, anxiety, and ADD. He agreed with me that meds might be a good solution, and gave me a referral to a pdoc for December 14. With luck, I should function better spring semester. (I love being here, but my head is full of questions: what am I doing, why am I doing this, what is God calling me into, can I be bigger than I've been? Focusing on academics hasn't happened in awhile, and trying to focus when I'm actually doing them is just laughable.) Pray for me, please.


Catherine said...

You are where you belong! Don't forget that. It seems crazy now, but you'll see the big picture down the road. No need to question, just trust. I KNOW you are doing what you NEED to do. Your calling is going to be bigger and better than you have ever imagined.
Prayers? YOU GOT IT! =)

Mimi said...

I've been there, big hugs from me. I believe that medicine plus the church heals us.

Lots of love!