Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What If...

Today has been extremely emotionally taxing. I'm spent and totally worthless in this class I'm in, or so I thought. Maybe my intensity of emotion today prepared me for discussion. I really want to cuddle with someone because I'm so spent. I spent a good deal of time with Father Jeff today, and part of my being who I am made that taxing. He told me to start practicing the posture I'll need to assume for the rest of my life: submission and humility. Being who I am (someone who takes everything personally), I heard that as his saying I'm arrogant. (And I understand that some people perceive what I see as self-confidence as arrogance, and I know that there's a fine line.) We talked about that and worked it out. I feel better about that now.
Then we talked about something that I've had in the back of my head for a while but haven't really fleshed out as an idea: The commission can say no. I've known that possibility for a while, and I haven't thought, "Oh, I have this in the bag!" But at the same time I haven't thought about what that would mean for the rest of my life, and it hit me in the face. It made me mad and hurt me. They haven't said no, but I was feeling things that I might feel. And I've worked through those emotions and am feeling a lot better now. Fr. Jeff asked if I'd be able to still love the Church if they said no. My answer was that I don't know. As I was driving away from the church I said to myself it'd be easier for me to love the Church if they said no now rather than two weeks before graduation. I think I'd be okay, now, though. I've dealt with emotions. If they say no I'll be mad. I'll think they're making a huge mistake (more about hello, I'm young, and most of the The Episcopal Church is not than I'm Joseph Effin' Mathews). I'll be hurt and wonder how I can have gotten so much affirmation from so many different people about my call for the last three years and then a few people after forty-five minutes can say, "They were all wrong. Your sense of call is wrong."
But I've worked through some emotions now. And I'm exhausted from it, but I'll be okay if they say no. It was much better for me to face this stuff today than if it happens next week. We're still hoping and praying that they say yes, and there are people praying for me all over the country about it. I'm sitting in my stupid IDS class and Dr. Volrath has been rambling for an hour and 20 minutes. For some reason the following came into my head, "For the beauty of the earth..." So I Googled it and got all the lyrics.
Here are some selected verses and the chorus:
For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This, our hymn of grateful praise

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
For Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.
For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise. It will be well with my soul, although that's not the hymn where I've found consolation. I've found it in thanksgiving for the gifts we have. I was at Cursillo this weekend and said, "Thanks be God" innumerable times. When I first started going to St. Luke I said that after the scripture readings, but it was because I'm supposed to. Now, after four or five years, I mean it. Every time I say it now I mean it. I don't often express enough gratitude to others (or God), but I do mean thanksgiving for scripture having been given to guide us. And I do completely understand that for much of today I've gotten worked up over something that might not actually happened. However if I do get told "no," I'll have had something of a practice run.
"For the love which from our birth, over and around us lies." I'll still be loved by God. And the people who tell me no will still be loved by God. And, if I practice the faith that I profess to believe, should still be loved by me.
"Friends on earth and friends above." If I get told no I'll still have friends. Friends around me in Troy, AL. Friends in Montgomery. Friends in CoMo, friends in B'ham, friends in San Francisco, friends in Nashville, friends in DC, friends in NYC, friends in White Sulpher Springs, WV, friends at Western Kentucky, friends at Candler, friends at Wesley, friends at Garrett, friends at Shennandoah University...and friends (and family!) throughout the communion of the saints (who we'll remember this week at church).
"Graces human and divine." If I'm told no, I do suppose that I'll still be able to love the Church. I'll be hurt, and sad, and angry, and maybe feel like I've not given a fair shot. But we're supposed to forgive as we've been forgiven, no?

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