Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meeting Jesus

Right now, all is calm on the disease front. I have a PET scan on the 12th, that I’m not anxious about. I’m recovering more quickly from chemo than I ever have. I’m free to think about other things.

A and I went to St. Bart’s again on Sunday. I wanted another Carol fix before she retires this weekend. I also wanted to thank the community for being the support that they are. I’m almost never there—but I know that they care about me. And I wasn’t up for driving yet, so both of us went.

I got an absolute love-bath. I stood up and said, I'm not here that often so I don't know what people remember, but I'm fighting cancer for the second time. Someone I don't know asked if they could lay hands on me. I said of course yes. So a bunch of people came up and did just that. Then A said my birthday's coming (two weeks away). Which was close enough to Carol's, that she prayed for both of us.

And I mean prayed. Cancer can’t hold a candle to that. I felt completely, utterly blessed.

A and I talked on the way home about what makes Carol different. We finally figured it out: she meets Jesus in people. We’re close now; we adore each other, and both of us know it. But she greeted me as warmly when I would have thought I was no more to her than the friend of an occasional visitor. You can watch her see Christ in you. The effect is that you know you matter. And I know I’m not the only human being, still taken by surprise at that idea.

People reflect God to me all the time. A friend once told me I “embodied welcome.” So I know I have a similar effect. But I have no clue what I do. In some ways that’s good; I don’t want to lose my head to it. But then, how do you practice a skill you don’t know you have? How do you get better at it, if you don’t know it exists?

I’m in a race with the disease. I know that if I win, I will be clergy. I’m more sure of that than I’ve ever been. I’m barely practicing the ministry right now that I got my bishop's permission to explore. But I know it is in me, and so does everyone who sees me do it. I know that people value this blog as a cancer ministry. It is, and that’s one reason I keep it. But I’m on a trajectory toward being a priest to homeless people. That’s what my heart wants more than anything. And that’s where I know I’ll end up, if I live long enough.

(Here’s where the magical thinking starts: that is so me that I have to do it. Therefore, I will. I will beat this, and I’ll live. I can’t let myself go there. But God knows I want to.)

Everyone needs to know that they matter. Seeing my effect on others as I was beginning to deal with cancer is one of the things that healed me. We all need to be seen. We all need love.

My people are those who get told a thousand times a day that they are nothing. They need welcome more than anyone else I know. They need to be told and shown that they count. They need to know that they matter to God, and to the people around them.

I don’t know what I’m already doing. It isn’t intentional. But I know I can do what I have seen and felt Carol do. I can purposely greet Jesus in everyone I see.

It needs to be conscious, until it is natural. And maybe even then. What would the world be like, if we all consciously greeted God in each other?


Two Auntees said...

You do embody welcome. You are one of the people who do it instinctively. You don't need to know what you do. You don't have to analyze it. Just be...... and you will see the Christ in all.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone instinctively greeted God in everyone else. What a wonderful world.

You are in my prayers.

kat said...

You have such a beautiful heart and mind. Thank you for sharing this.

Love always, and prayers ascending. Lit another candle this week and wept for healing. It felt right.


Anonymous said...

Dear Kirstin,

May you always feel this love surrounding you, as you do now. It's heartening to read what you write. Thank you for putting yourself into words for us to read and be connected with you. You're a real blessing.
Thanks and Love,
Mary Beth & Mary Lee

susankay said...

Kirstin -- I check in here at least a couple of times a day, hoping to hear from. It is a joy

it's margaret said...

There was a lady I knew in Oregon who greeted everyone on Sundays by bowing first, and then saying, "Good morning Jesus! Good morning (then she said your name)" At first I thought she was crazy --so I just 'played' along.... then, I got to really love it. She was the first person I knew to really greet Jesus in everyone....

And, uummm, errrr, you already are a priest, and ordination will only affirm that.... just sayin'.

Kirstin said...

Thank you all. Love to everyone.

Margaret, I do know that--but my bishop has the link to this. :-)