Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ob la di, Ob la dah

Last night at this time, I was sitting at a table, surrounded by happy laughing people and the Beatles were playing in the background, and I became aware of all the "changes and chances" of life from the last few days: Tripp was ordained on Sunday. I visited with a friend, who is six months pregnant with her first child. A very brave 18 year old girl named Catherine - my best friend's cousin- has finally lost her long battle with leukemia, and I learned that she passed away a couple weeks ago. Two wondeful friends here at Seabury got engaged (Congratulations!!!). I attended a party to celebrate twenty glorious years of the music ministry of my friend Jula, back at my home parish. Which brings me back to the table of happy laughing people. I had the amazing blessing of sitting at a table with women who have affected my life more than I think any of us even know, and simply enjoy each others time.

Lydia was my confirmation mentor when I was 12 years old. She told me she felt called to the priesthood, and when she said it, I knew that I was too. She moved away from Michigan about 10 years ago, but I've kept up with her progress through accquiantences. After her four boys (as if that isn't enough qualification for sainthood!) were all in school full time, she started seminary, and has been ordained for about two years.

Devon has been ordained longer, but is somewhat closer to me in age. We share a birthday, our undergraduate alma mater, and are both married to academics. Even though I was still in college when we met, she has always treated me as an equal adult, and was my first mentor of adulthood. She used to be the associate priest at my home church, and supported my call to ordination practically from the day we met, and was ultimately responsible for getting me started in my formal process.

Then, there is Julia. She is the music person at our church, but has always been so much more. I sang in Julia's choirs from the time I was 6 (when she arrived at St. Clares) until I moved to Chicago to start seminary at age 23. She was my first mentor and role model. She taught me to pray with music. She taught me about the beauty of liturgy and what it means for worship to really celebrate God's goodness. She is kind, funny, talented. We talked about her hospitality, her love for children and her work to see them truly included in the life of the church. She is the kind of person, who even though she has known you since you were in first grade, can talk with you as a friend and adult because she is simply that gracious. We had a service of thanksgiving, praising God for Julia and all the gifts we have been given so freely. Then, we had a party to celebrate some more. But my favorite celebration was on my drive back to Chicago this morning: for music in the car, I sang all the way from Chelsea to Kalamazoo- hymns, spirituals, songs of praise - the kind of singing that is part of my life thanks to the gifts from God, passed on through Julia's love and ministry. Not many of us get the chance to sit down at a table with the people who have shaped our lives, and even though the night was shorter than I would have liked, the moments will stay with me for a long time. But now, books are calling and its almost time for bed. Life goes on!

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