Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sabbath Day Becomes Day Off

It is much work to take a Sabbath. I am trying out Thursday as my 'day off', this being the only day of the week I *can* take off. Saturday is a natural workday for me, what with finishing up service preparations and always having to go to bed early in time for Sunday. It's a difficult day, though. By the time I get through with work and the gym on Wednesday, that day is done. I find I work late previewing sermon concepts and generally catching up. Then on Thursday, I am a little on edge all day, getting things done, always feeling like something is not restful- the bulletins need more information, my sermon is not done, things just aren't done for the week. In a previous life, I had Mondays off, and enjoyed those very much. I was done from the time I finished visits on Sunday to whenever I decided to go to the office on Tuesday. But now, I feel I need to be more present at the parish at designated hours. One of the challenges of being a part-time priest in a parish is trying to help the parish find you when they need you. Today was my big day, getting things done: canceling my unneeded memberships like the gym I left behind and the recipe club, getting laundry done, buying cleaning supplies. I have found that my huge house takes some serious cleaning! I even went and finally got my library card! So yes, I did get a lot done. But I did not feel that I achieved Sabbath on this day. I wonder how Thursday-day-offers achieve that sense of Sabbath?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Settling In

We've all found it- the piece of clothing that looks like a dishrag on a hanger, but fabulous on your body. For me, it was a silly prom style dress I bought in college for our college semi-formal. The dress looked like a rag on the hanger, but it fit me somehow. It nipped in at my waist, and flared out at the skirt. Not that I have much bust to speak of, but it accentuated properly without being unduly revealing. I looked toned and athletic, but in a hot-chick sort of way. Best of all, it had stretch in all the right places, so it felt incredibly comfortable. It fit, and I have not forgotten how fabulous I felt in it.

The next year, I sent it to be hemmed, and the hapless seamstress lopped off over a foot, turning my dress into a tea-length monstrosity. I screamed. I ran to my friends shrieking. I wailed. But it was done, and I would only ever have memories of my Perfect Dress. I have spent my life since seeking the Perfect Fit.

Jeans. Job. Cute life-partner. Still searching on the jeans. Secured the life-partner in May and began the cookbook sharing, so it's official. Job...

I always get nervous before services, especially the 8:00 service. I have the shortest commute to work- about 5 seconds across the parking lot- so I often get there well before everyone else. And each week, I have a fear that no one else will show up. It's early. It's cold. It's dark. I could think of many reasons to stay in bed with a decadent cup of cocoa and the Sunday paper. But instead, fifteen people showed up today, almost double the number of a month ago!

And such a day it was! We had visitors today, and the parish is aflutter with excitement at all the really great people moving into our town. They were young people, and several of them have kids around the same age. They are in neat careers, like computers, social work, therapy, much like my friends who are all around the country. And I began to think- for the first time of any parish I have worked in- 'these are people I could be friends with'. This is starting to feel like a parish that I would want to belong to. I was once in a parish where I hated the early service- I felt sapped and drained just getting up on Sundays. But in this parish, the 8'o clock service reminds me of why I used to attend that service back in my home parish. It's actually soul-feeding. By the 10'o clock service, instead of feeling dead inside, I feel energy. I look forward to having people come in.

This parish reminds me of the tiny country parish that I did some interim supply vicar work last year- they were tiny and remote, but so happy being them. They were just the right size for who they were and they knew that they laid claim to some bit of God's work and God's world in their own, teeny tiny way. I loved that parish and often thought that if I were ever called to be a solo priest, I would want to be in a parish like that.

And here, I look out on this community- the pews are filling up. I know people's names. Rambunctious little boys are running all over our parish hall, playing with the eagles from my Noah's Ark. The people are challenging, and real, and interesting, and fun to be around.

Sure, our little parish is still growing, still changing, still becoming. They've been through a lot. There's still a lot of work to do. But I found myself looking around today, and seeing the sort of church I would attend myself if I were looking for a church. I've landed at a place that I'm not only paid to be at, but that I want to be at.

I found myself wondering, "Is this what things look like when you find something that fits? Maybe, just maybe, does this job fit? And really, tell me the truth, does this cinture make me look wide across the middle?"

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm onto you...

And anyone who is reading so far is saying, "Four posts? Dude, she's totally seeding her blog!" Duh! I once worked for Friendly's as the Ice Cream Girl. I would seed the tip jar with a few dollar bills, so people would think I was super and tip me more. It worked. (Well, that and I was a pretty dang fantastic sundae maker.) So yeah, I'm onto the fact that you're onto me. Besides, it's a new toy. I have never grown up beyond the most ridiculous five-year-old attachment to new toys. "It's mine! I'm playing with it now!"

Scaffolding came down!

Right before I was hired at this parish, they went ahead with their big project of repairing the ailing belltower. I arrived to a church that was completely covered in scaffolding. The day before the Bishop came to visit, they finished their project and took down all that scaffolding. Oh-my-Higher-Authority, can I tell you that church looks fabulous? It's all quaint and New-Englandy and adorable! Nice and clean, too. The church looks like it feels better without all that scaffolding. I've been saying, especially living in this 250-year-old Rectory- that the buildings around here are so old they have become more than simple buildings. They have their own spirit. Like the Rectory- it was depressed and lonely when we arrived. It really cheered up when we pruned all those foundation plantings and made it look like a normal house. It gets separation anxiety when we leave it alone in the dark. But it's feeling all cozy and happy today, ever since we started decorating for Christmas. I wonder if Christmas is its favorite season?

Salmon Patties! Yay!

I am a newlywed. I knew that my husband was a good cook back when I was dating him, but once we moved in together (and he got a fantastic, large, sharp, super chef's knife for a wedding present), he went to town with my cookbooks and his sense of precision. In short order, he had perfected a recipe for tarragon salmon patties- like the fish burgers you buy in the store, but way better. In our first apartment in Fredericksburg, I would wrap them up in lettuce leaves and eat them warm and cold. Since moving to Connecticut two months ago, we have been cooking seasonally. But this week, he dusted off his recipe and made me salmon patties. I love this man. My whole house smells like tarragon and fish patties. (I'm Portuguese. It works for me!) Joy and happiness in Small-Town Connecticut!

First Post Of Many

This is hopefully the first of what will become many Connecticut Episco-blogs. It's about time to start seeing some good news out there, and to know about- in real time!- the really cool work being done by our churches. Especially the small churches, the little scrappy country parishes that are the backbones of the church. In the meantime, a good friend was pushing me to start a blog, and I said something to the Diocese and the Diocese mentioned they had been trying to kick off a blog for a while. I thought it would be a great idea to get our Diocese blogging on all the positive stuff happening. Sure, we'll be realistic in the face of the real challenges we and our world are facing in today's climate, but there's a lot of COOL stuff happening in the parishes of Connecticut. That will be the Diocesean blog that'll kick off in a few months. In the meantime, we thought it would be a great idea for us to start getting familiar with this blogging medium. Just how much can we screw up our computers in cyberworld? Starting now, we're about to find out.