Daydreams

I need to tell you a story.  It’s been persistently on my mind.  I’m uncertain of it’s meaning, but continue to roll it around in my head.  Any insight is welcome.

Some of you may know my second cousin, Christi, passed away last month.  It’s devastating, as she leaves behind a husband and 2 beautiful school-aged children.  Cancer took her from us.  Quickly.  Unexpectedly.

Christi

I couldn’t sleep the night I received the news.  More than a relative, Christi, had been my friend.  She was a great support to me while I journeyed through infertility, cheering me on.  She was also a great support and encouraged us as we journeyed through having a micropreemie.  She walked with us.  Kept tabs.  Checked in.  Now, in the blink of an eye, she’s gone.  Wife.  Mother.  Friend.  Gone.

Though I always said, Thank You, in the way one does when someone does something nice or kind for you, I never did tell her what her presence, hope and the walking with me, meant to me.  I believe as her spirit lives and we continue to share our stories, she hears and she knows she made a impact.  This reminds me to remember to speak up, share memories, tell stories, share joys, and trials too with those around us.  Tell people what it means to have their presence, their listening ears and their love in our lives.

So, I was thinking about Christi while getting ready the next morning and I had this “daydream?”.  I’m not sure what to call it, because I was awake, but it definitely came from a subconscious part of me or somewhere else.  Something else.  It was almost trance-like.  But, I had this whole conversation with myself or with this other entity about whether or not I should wear a collar to her memorial service.  Then, finally, I kind of came out of it and thought; “Why are you even having this conversation?  You’re not a priest or a deacon, who has a collar.  You don’t have to worry about this or think about it.”  Then I thought, “What on earth was that?”  I just had an entire conversation about when asked “should I wear a collar?” to the point of answering, no.  It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to wear a collar because I was attending the service as her family, to be supportive of the rest of the family.  Christi and Massimo were not religious people and may be uncomfortable and not supported with a collar.

Then it came again.  “What just happened?”  “What was that?”  It left me feeling unsettled and nervous.  Then I thought, well it’s no wonder I’m dreaming of collars since I’m working with a 3rd discernment group of someone discerning if there is a call to the  ordained ministry of the priesthood.  Maybe I’ve been discerning so much, my own mind is just there, present and in that space thinking about what it means to be a deacon or a priest.  I don’t know. I’m not sure.  This is so strange.

On a side note, I had begun to finally look into participating in EfM (Education for Ministry).  Feel free to click on the link if you’re not sure what that is.  Reverend Aimee, our previous rector, had mentioned EfM to me years ago, but there was a scheduling conflict for me, so it wasn’t something I thought I’d be able to commit to, until now.  As it doesn’t work well for me to drive out to CHN (Church of the Holy Nativity) during rush hour, I looked into trying to find a group in the city.  I was directed to a man named Timm, who leads the group at St James Cathedral.  We had lunch so that I could learn more about it.  I found out Timm is a retired physician, so we had something in common almost immediately.  He then told me he was actually in discernment trying to discern whether or not he had a call to the diaconate; was I familiar with the process?  Of course, I smiled and said, actually, I’m currently working with a third discernment group right now with someone discerning a possible call to the priesthood.  (My heart is now racing and I’m thinking, what on earth is going on?)  So, we talked a little about his process and that he’d also been a part of another group prior to his own, discerning the priesthood with someone.  We had a very nice lunch and are looking forward to delving into EfM together.

Now I’m really starting to think, so I send a text to a friend who also happens to be a priest, hoping she can calm my panic.  I asked if she might have time for a chat and surprisingly, she was able to respond right away with a  yes, she was actually on her lunch.  I told her the story.  Her response was not at all what I expected.  She said, “well, if I was your priest, I would guard my words more carefully, but since I’m not your priest, as your friend, I can tell you that most of the discerning that I’ve done with people are those with a call to the diaconate, not the priesthood.  (palpitations are starting now)  I can tell you, it takes someone who… (with the pounding in my ears, I can’t remember the exact words she used when talking about the personal qualities it takes to be a priest, but I remember what came next…) …and you have those qualities.  Those are the qualities of a priest.”

I’m now stunned.  Sitting there nervous, mouth dry and thinking, “You can’t be serious?!?”  In my mind, I might possibly handle the thought of a deacon, but priest?  Seriously?  Could I honestly be entrusted with that?

This is the first time “priest” (or any ordained ministry for that matter) has even flittered across my mind or thoughts.  I’ve never, in my wildest imaginings, thought of myself as priest.  The responsibility, the education…the teaching–maybe, but I can teach in many different capacities.  The preaching–I don’t know.  Maybe…it might not be so different as what I do and feel when I sing.  But to be entrusted with all that it means to be a priest?  It’s scary.  It’s alarming.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know…

Well, then the memorial that started all of this was now upon us.  I’d had a few days to just sit and be with everything that was floating around in my head and around me.  My mom had just flown in from Florida to be at the service.  Lola (Grandma in the Philippine language) brought gifts for her beloved grandson.  He was happy Lola was here and really enjoying the new toys.  Then she says to me, I have something for you too!  I said, really?  Thank You!  You didn’t have to do that.

Spoons

Now I will tell you that my mother is a practicing Seventh-Day Adventist.  Feel free to click on the link if you don’t know what that is or means, but needless to say, the crucifix is often a point of contention, in its use.  Regardless, she presented me with these.

Faith     Love     Hope    Joy

They’re lovely, and of course, I said “Thank You!”  I also asked where on earth she found them.  She said she saw them at the airport and they made her think of me.  I said, “Really?  You saw crucifix measuring spoons and they made you think of me?”  She said, “Well, I thought you’d enjoy them.”  I said, “They’re beautiful, Thank You.”  As the baker of the family, this sort of made sense.  As someone who was is palpitating at the thought of ordained ministry that others might possibly see in my future and someone who is trying to find out what on earth God is telling me…These spoons at the airport?  Really?

Ok God, you sent me some spoons… what are you trying to tell me?

A week or so later, I got an email from our music director at CHN asking if I was available to sing the anthem on August 5th because she would be out of town and Bill, another church member would be playing the organ that Sunday.  After looking at the calendar I responded yes, that would work.  I just need to take a look at the readings for that Sunday and get back to her with some music.  So, I looked up the readings for August 5th on the lectionary page and was drawn to the Epistle (Ephesians 4:1-16) and the Gospel (John 6:24-35).  I started looking through music and found this because it moved me so much.

At one point with my mind just circling around it all while singing, I just broke down and sobbed.  I want to break down the lyric for you…

Hard as it seems,
Standing in dreams,
Where is the dreamer now?
Wonder if I,
Wanted to try,
Would I remember how?

I don’t know the way to go from here,
but I know that I have made my choice.
And this is where I stand,
until he moves me on
and I will listen to his voice.

It strikes a chord with me.  It all started with a kind of a daydream– but do I know or imagine beyond that?  It’s difficult.  It’s scary.  It’s troublesome.  Clearly, my life is in a period of transition.  I’m between churches.  Still at CHN, but often attending the cathedral because it’s closer to home and more accessible to me.  In transition of career as I haven’t “practiced” nursing in 2 years, after the birth of our micropreemie caused us to reevaluate the need to have me working outside of the home.  In transition with a possible move to Florida in our future as our families are living there.

Who knows what the future holds?

However, in our baptismal vows, we’ve already made a promise, a choice:  “…to put our whole trust in God’s love and grace (BCP p.302) …to obey and follow God (BCP p.303)”

The song continues…

This is the faith;
patience to wait when there is nothing clear.
Nothing to see, still we believe
Jesus is very near.

I can not imagine what will come,
but I’ve already made my choice,
and this is where I stand until he moves me on
and I will listen to his voice.

Could it be that he is only
waiting there to see
If I will learn to love the dreams
that he has dreamed for me?

I can’t imagine what the future holds,
but I’ve already made my choice,
and this is where I stand until he moves me on
and I will listen to his voice.

Faith.  I’ve talked about faith before.  I do believe what is currently mush will become crystal clear in God’s time and when I am ready.

Clearly, God is trying to tell me something.  I’m still not at all sure what God has in store for me, but I do believe in his love and his grace.  He has a dream for me and he’s just now starting to see if I can see and put my faith in his dream; learn his dream and in doing so live in to the life he’s dreamed for me since birth.

I’ll close with this:  Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full cloak of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood. but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”