Thursday, May 07, 2009

Fabulous feedback

Yesterday began and ended in closures. First, my field ed colleague group met for the last time. We’ve met weekly, all year. We are very close, and we’ve all come to rely on both the honesty and safety we give each other.

We took turns sharing gratitude for each of the others, and praying for us all. Much was reflected back to me, about truth-telling and courage. One looked across the table at me, was quiet for a minute, and said, “You are so incarnational.”

She followed that with a story about watching me preach, last week, and the way I taught people how to bake bread.

I’m only recently realizing, how much my body has taught me—and how much I’ve been able to learn. This is one more confirmation of what I can do now, that I had absolutely no reference for when I was well. I’ve never thought of myself as a teacher, ever. I’ve thought that I wasn’t called to it, couldn’t do it, had no idea of how to do it. She sat across the table from me, looked into my eyes, and told me that I can, and could, and did.

I wonder how I will remember? Not just about teaching, but being. I’ll start getting my health back at the end of June. I want to be the person that my illness has taught me to be. And when my limits fall away again, I don’t know what I’ll be aware of. Except for pure, boundless joy.

Last night, four of us got together and made our videos for what we call “Magic Hands.” (The proper name of the class is Liturgical Leadership. You learn how to preside at the Eucharist.) We’re going to watch them and have them critiqued, next week. Mine was a year late; I grouped up with this year’s class to finish it. I put together a healing Eucharist, because that’s what I really want to do on the street.

I don’t care how often you practice in your street clothes, using your bed for the altar. When you put that stole and chasuble on, you feel the weight of those vestments. Standing at the real altar, raising my hands for the first time, I wasn’t playing anymore. I was so tired I could barely see straight—and I also knew, I was grounded with my feet in the earth, and my energy was where I needed to be. I still had to look at my cheat sheet—but my body knew more than I thought it did. And things that I could never keep straight as a lay assistant—no matter how many times I’ve done it—finally made sense to me. I knew where I was, and what I needed next. It flowed.

I really, really want to do this for real. And I’m years from being allowed to.

Lizette will ask me what she asks everyone: “Did you pray?” The only answer I’ll have for her is, “Are you kidding? The weight of these clothes, and the gravity of these words, make you pray. I couldn’t possibly have done this with only a part of me.”

I did an anointing before the Eucharistic rite. My friend said afterward that she’d felt it, and needed it. And the one on the camera sort of stared at me for awhile, and said,

“Your illness has made you a healer.”

Thank you. That is what I want.

I had to be truly ill, to truly heal. And I had to heal, before I could heal others. I wonder what I will carry with me, into wellness?

I ask myself often, how much the groundedness that people see in me is genuine, and how much is simply being too tired to work up any anxiety. I think it’s both. And I won’t really know, until my body is well again.

But I’m thinking that I may be pleasantly surprised.

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