Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hoodie Sweatshirts Change Lives

Well, back a few months ago, I owned only one hoodie sweatshirt.  It is the Newington Soccer sweatshirt my parents bought me when I made travel team and we have to buy certain parts of our uniform.  It has my name on the back.  They bought it too big and gave me this huge lecture about taking care of my sweatshirt.  20 years later, I still have it.  You're welcome, Mom and Dad.


I wore it while my dad taught me to refinish and I re-did a secretary desk which now looks really awesome.  But my picture won't upload, so imagine a gorgeous desk.  

Awesome, eh? 


I was very sad here in the Frozen Icey Nutmeg state.  (Sounds like a coffee drink, no?)  It is hard to find a place to ride your bike.  I often racked my bike and drove it to places to ride it.  I wished I lived in a place where I could ride my bike right out of my house. 


I was also getting very sad at work.  I work in the ED and I love my ED people and my Nuero people... but the nature of our work involves a lot of death and dying. And while my people like to feed me cake and coffee (and whole snack spreads on C9I! You guys are awesome), the death and dying was starting to get to me.  I love helping people.  I love talking with a person as they work through their issues and being present as God's grace illuminates darkness.  But I grew weary of the dying.  Sometimes I'd have 9 deaths in a single night.  Once I had two babies and a co-worker die in the same day.  I'd always said that I would know it would be time to get out of the chaplaincy work when I started feeling numb.  That time came. 


Unbeknownest to me, M had purchased a Christmas present in the fall.  It was this.

It is a hoodie sweatshirt from one of my favorite bloggers, the Fat Cyclist.  I like him because he does good things for humanity like raise money to fight cancer, and he's obsessed with his bikes.  He went to hell as his first wife died of cancer, but he has come back to celebrate living fully. (And his second wife, nicknamed the Runner, sounds so awesome.  I have the most major girl crush on her.) He also describes crashes in great detail.  A true cyclist, really.  I like to imagine that the Fat Cyclist and I could have a nice chat for an hour or two, talking about nothing but crashes and comparing scars and eating our weight in french fries.  It would be fun.    


After this hoodie arrived, it immediately began working its hoodie magic even though it was being hidden.  I saw a posting for a job that looked like a lot of fun in a really cool location.  I talked to the boss there and applied for the job.


And Martin gave me the hoodie for Christmas.


And the job invited me to fly out to interview as a finalist.  And I loved the place.  The people were awesome.  The town was awesome.  And the weather is so mild you can ride your bike every day.  In fact, many people bike commute, riding right out of their garage and all around the streets.  I thought this really rocked.


Now church work isn't just a job.  It's a call.  Priests and clergy (and hopefully, every person of God) see their work as a calling, as something where God calls us to grow and change and transform.  So when we join a parish, we aren't just taking a job for some quick cash and sweet vacation benefits.  We should be accepting a call because we believe it is where God wants us to go next.  The parish calls us because they discern in groups called "committees" that we are the one being called there.  It means when the call comes, it's more than just you- it's a process that involved a few dozen people saying, "Hmmmm... I think this is the right call." 


Whenever I get the nervous tremors about moving 3,100 miles away, I remember this.  IT'S NOT JUST ME MAKING THIS CHOICE!  Phew.  So much less pressure. 


So when the church called, I accepted.  And we gave each other these for a Valentine's present.  Therefore, Hoodies Change Lives.  Because all the positive changes in my life these past six months were accompanied by hoodies. 


So I have a new call, to Eugene, OR.  I will become a West Coast priest.  I will be bike commuting and getting to eat tofu in fast food places.  It's not just a cool job.  It's a call. 


It means that God, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.


And the hoodies are just a bonus, after all. 

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