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Saturday, August 13, 2005

faith story part VIII--the yoke is easy

When I was 25, my mother was diagnosed with a serious illness. And I couldn't keep it together anymore. I wasn't getting anywhere professionally (not "living up to my potential"), felt something missing. It was almost weekly that people would ask me, "when are you going to seminary," or some version thereof, and my answer had changed from "I don't want to" to "my parents would never forgive me" but still, I didn't get it.

My mom's illness pushed all of what I was carefully hiding from myself and others into the foreground. I finally entered therapy and discovered things about me that I already knew, deep inside, but just couldn't admit, how my parents and I were in what could best be described as "enmeshed" or "fused" where the boundaries had gotten mixed up and we were too far apart by being too close together (no wonder I had moved to Arizona!)

And then one Sunday, I was standing at the altar as a subdeacon, turning pages for the rector as he presided at Eucharist, and I had this sudden desire, deep and strong, to slide him out of the way and do it myself. Freaked out wouldn't even begin to describe how I felt, so I did what I knew how to do best--ignore it.

Which lasted a few weeks, until I was on a trip with the Episcopal Campus Ministry, and I was holding the book for the chaplain while he celebrated Eucharist on the beach at Lake Powell, and I had the same feeling all over again. Different setting, different priest, same desire.

I was not happy about this development. Because I knew what the risks were. I was an only child who was feeling called to the one thing her parents hoped she would never, ever, even consider.

When Deacon Suzanne (yet another deacon!)stopped me in the hallway at church the next week, and asked for the bazillionth time if I was interested in joining her ordination discernment group, I said "yes." And it was the easiest thing in the world to do.

4 Comments:

At 7:54 AM, Blogger G. Brooke said...

There's something about that element of strong desire that makes real intuitive sense to me. Balancing the "ying" of (more socially acceptable humility of) the "reluctant prophet" should, it seems to me, be the "yang" of the (more socially suspect) "eager prophet." Isaiah, under his breath, completed "Here I am, send me" with "because I think I'll be good at it, dammit."

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger Emily said...

What a great reading of Isaiah!

I didn't write this in the original post but I did think for awhile that I was being called against my will until I had to admit it was one of my deepest desires and gave me great joy. I think you've hit it on the head.

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger Annie said...

My gut response here is that this is the way the Lord works! If you ignore him long enough, he moves you with an insistence that doesn't allow for dallying.

Annie

 
At 3:40 PM, Blogger Kathryn said...

Certainly how it worked for me...except it took 14 years from first registering a call to actual ordination as a priest this summer. Forget Isaiah, I've always identified with Jonah, heading as fast as possible in the opposite direction from the one God intended. Got here in the end, though ;-)

 

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