Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giving up Christmas for Advent

I'm still relatively new to the liturgical tradition.  I've only been in the Episcopal church almost two years.  I've experienced Lent twice, Advent and Christmas once, my own Confirmation and a host of other church traditions.  I love all of it.  Rest assured, I'm not drawn into the church by the glitz and glamour or the smells and bells if you will.  I understand it isn't all wonderful.  Nothing in this world makes me crazier or happier than the church.

Advent is my happy place.  Truth be told, I'm horrible at waiting, but through some long dark nights and seasons of the soul, I've learned to wait better.  I'm committed to Christ and most days I'm determined to see this journey to the end.  One time in a moment of extreme spiritual maturity I screamed.  Out loud.  "I'm NOT waiting ANYMORE!"  As clear as anything I've ever heard God said, "You can kick and you can scream or you can wait well, but you're going to wait."


I throw a holy fit semi regularly, but the great thing about God being the most important part of this life is the moment when I've worn myself completely out.  And I collapse on my bed and say, "Okay.  I'll do it your way.  I'll wait when it's hard.  I'll trust you when the nights are long.  And I'll love you all the way."  And I actually mean it.  Then I go to sleep because I'm pretty sure God needs a break from me as much as I do.

There's never a season spiritually that we aren't waiting for something.  Something to change.  Something to happen.  Something to stop happening.  Waiting on the world to change or at least our corner of it is exhausting.

But there's comfort and growth in the times when the calendar is missing and the clock seems stuck at never going to happen.

And if I really, really listen carefully, I always hear the whisper of Emmanuel in this season as he speaks to this heart....."I'm waiting with you."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


No surprise to anyone that knows me or has read my new book that my favorite place in all the world is the monastery.  Monastic ground is sacred space to this life.  Occasionally my soul feels spiritually disconnected, my heart feels fragile, and my mind feels tired.  So, I go to the monastery.  The last few days was my first trip back post book publishing and I wondered if it would still be sacred.  Would it still hold the wonder?  Now that I've researched their practices and documented their lives, would I still feel wonderfully invisible in the choir stalls?

Thankfully, I did.  I quickly melded into the community I have come to honor and admire.  I closed my eyes and listed as sung vespers washed over my soul.  Confusion lessened.  Stress released.  The bells were calling me to a future and hope.  They were calling me.......Home.  Maybe not today.  But someday.

Speaking of someday, I spent several hours this trip in the Honeycreek Woodlands at their natural burial grounds.  I'm sorta dark when it comes to death.  I like to talk about it.  All of it.  I like to discuss when, where, how, why, and what happens.  In case you don't believe me, one of my most favorite books is this.  No really, it is.

I visited the eco-friendly sites both natural and cremated remains.  I talked to the groundskeepers who had fabulous stories and opinions on all things death and burial.  The grounds are beautiful.  The atmosphere reverent.  I'm not "green" per say, but eco-friendly burial makes a lot of sense to me and I'm not done researching it.  Of course, I'm also under the impression that once we're gone from here it won't really make a difference.  At all.

I returned to the monastery in time to sit in my stall for Compline.  Directly across from me was the oldest monk at that monastery.  101 years old.  Crouched over the prayer book in front of him, he bowed in all the right places.  He knew all the words.  Allegedly he'll meet his final resting place before I will.  He'll probably meet his Maker before I see Him face to face.  And in that moment I was grateful that we live in community together and we'll spend eternity together as well.  One God.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Church Disposable

Even though I promised myself I wouldn't.  Even though every time I couldn't get the wording right or the pages right or my thoughts in any kind of order I said I'd never write another book.  I am.  Two of them.  Funny how God uses that multiplies principle at inconvenient times.  I told myself I'd maybe write another book when I finished grad school.  I'm not at all finished with school and yet I find myself opening a new file on my computer and writing Chapter 1.  Happy sigh.  I'm finding that one becomes a writer because one can't not write.  Don't like double negatives?  Too bad :)

My next book will be about the church, about this generation and the one behind me, and why church cannot possibly continue as it has been.  I've always had a love hurt relationship with church the building and church the people.  And I'm not going to lie - being a single 32 year old woman makes it hard to fit into any church setting.  I adore the people I worship with currently, but I still don't exactly fit there.  I don't really fit anywhere.  And in great moments of faith I consider that a spiritual blessing because it throws me into the arms of the Almighty just about all the time.  But sometimes, if I'm really honest, I wish the church could be everywhere.  And why can't it be?

I'm planning to figure that out in the months to come.

And the journey continues......