Thursday, May 21, 2009

Major milestone--and summer update.

I’m actually, truly, honest-to-God graduating from seminary tomorrow. Holy cow. By the grace of God, the love of some incredible people, and my own steel will, I've done it.

It hasn’t sunk in yet. It mostly feels weird, to be done. After everything that’s happened in this time... I don’t have a reason to be here anymore. I’m just, like that, done. And ready (truly) for the world.

My field ed professor, with whom I’d also done a reading course, e-mailed me Tuesday night. I’d been trying both to be responsible about my work, and give her space: her mother had been ill, and died on Sunday. We all knew it was coming. My oral work could wait. (She said I'd done enough, and that we could have these conversations over the rest of our lives anyway.)

My teacher and I are also good friends. We’re both driven by ministry to the marginalized. We get what makes each other tick. For her own reasons, she understands the post-cancer, post-nuclear life. She has walked solidly with me.

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real (CA central coast) visited our last field ed class, last Wednesday. I asked her about what's going on outside church buildings in ECR. She talked about a “church in the fields” idea that she wants to get going in Salinas. It’s similar to what I’ve been involved with in the Tenderloin, but with the migrant workers. My follow-up question: “Do you take interns?” (Her answer: “Yes, but you’d be working for free.”)

My teacher picked up on that interest. She wrote to me, you seemed really excited about +Mary's idea. What would you say to staying at my mom's house in Monterey this summer, taking care of the cats, and taking Spanish classes?

Um. Dear God. Yes. I knew I’d say yes before I even thoroughly read it. I made myself wait until the next morning to answer.

She's going through hell right now—and she’s thinking about me.

I've had times when I worked for something—I really wanted to go back and do my field ed in NOLA this year, for instance—and couldn't make it happen (even with the bishop of Louisiana’s invitation, God bless him). I did nothing to deserve this, would never have thought to ask for it, and didn't see it coming. It makes sense for both of us, when I think of it—but I would not have thought of it. This is grace.

People have been throwing grace at me by the handfuls for a year, because I’ve needed it. This is not accommodation. This is gift.

Ironically, my parish in SF says, now that I've been where cancer took me, and came back resurrected, I'm emotionally ready to do discernment work with them. They want to work with me, after I get past the transitions of health, job, housing. I'll have my diocese’s three-year residency requirement in August. And I’ll be two hours south, all summer. This feels very much like an open door, and I don’t know what it means. I’m trusting the Spirit for whatever's next.

The practical part of me says, stay in contact with the community you already love and are rooted in, and that knows and loves you. Wisdom says, go with God.

I’m going to do both, until the way becomes clear enough to blind me.


it's margaret said...

I am so very very happy for you! And congratulations upon your degree! You will be in my prayers.

Hey, my word thingy --chystra...

isn't that the chakra just above the head?!


Two Auntees said...

Congratulations!! This is wonderful news. If the door is open head for it.

Paul said...

Many blessings on whichever path the Spirit takes you on. So happy to know you are graduating. I spoke with Fran today and commented that the last time she and I were on the phone was checking in after your surgery. Much joy to you!!!!!!!!!!!

eileen said...


Congratulations, and so many blessings to you.

Kirstin said...

Thank you, all. :-)

Ann said...

Congratulations -- celebrations and woohoo!

susankay said...

Very, very great congratulations. A job very well done indeed.

Lisa Fox said...

Sounds like intriguing options for you.

mutful* to you --

*word verification thingy

motheramelia said...

Congratulations. Just listen and follow the call to where your heart is.
adinglow* and God's peace.

*word verification (a silly idea from Padre Mickey)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Congratulations, Kirstin! I rejoice with you. It was a tough and challenging year, but you made it though with flying colors. I know it was not always easy, but you were not "overcome by adversity". Thanks be to God.

May God be with you as you pass through the doors that open for you. More grace by the handfuls for you as you continue to follow Jesus.

FranIAm said...

Kirstin!!! I am so late to the party but I come bearing congratulations, ongoing prayers and more good wishes.

This is great news!!