Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kite flying on Easter afternoon

I had decided I had too much to do today to keep this week from being completely crazy to accept an invitation to dinner I'd been given yesterday. A phone call after church from a friend going to the same dinner brought me to my senses and convinced me I could take the afternoon off and go out into the country for an Easter gathering.

My mind is full. I was given a great gift at the end of this week, the unqualified acceptance of my former boss, the one who recruited me to seminary 20 years ago, the one who launched me on my career in seminary administration. He enjoyed a great deal of renown in the Southern Baptist Convention years ago. He's since surrendered his ordination and is teaching religion courses at a state school here in my current state. Next fall he will teach a course for us at the seminary.

The closer association necessitated my coming out to him much sooner than later. I felt enough urgency in telling him to ensure he heard it from me that I opted to e-mail him, rather than wait until we got together. His response was quick and gracious. We'll be getting together on Friday to talk some more. There's much to catch up on. I've yet to find words to articulate what this means to me. I'm not sure I really even know what it means yet, but it's not for lack of trying to figure it out. I've longed for an accepting connection to my past. I'd honestly given up hope I'd ever find one.

There are other things occupying my attention as well. My Lenten discipline opened me to things I hadn't expected this year. Once I decided to give up the questions of adequacy to see how my relationship to what I've dreamed of doing for years changed, it was amazing how clearly I saw what I want to do once those questions were taken out of the picture. It hasn't been easy. I've had to face some truths about my self that haven't been easy to swallow. I've had to accept that I have been a greater hindrance to my own achievement than I've been willing to admit in the past. The amazing thing, though, is once that admission is made, it's hard to support staying stuck in that place. And, indeed, there's been much that's happened to rouse me from that place of complacency and inaction. I've quit trying to make sense of it in any sort of logical way, but it has felt like the messages at church lately have been in lock step with where my own heart has taken me.

I'm applying to enter the credentialing process with the Unitarian Universalist Association, a process that will eventually lead to ordination. Though I've seen what I want clearly, I do still feel inadequate to the task, more than I ever have before, with a lot of new reasons to feel that way. I guess what I've learned this Lent is that I can move ahead anyway.

I had laundry to do today, and housecleaning, and I thought journaling about this morning's sermon and how it affected me seemed like the most important things to get done. I feel a sense of urgency about what lies ahead. Instead, I spent a portion of my afternoon flying a kite with an eight-year-old, learning from him the ways to keep it in the air as the wind shifts and changes. In the time we spent, I learned about a bully in his class who thinks he's going to hell. I heard about his teacher's new baby, a girl, and the legends about people who live in the area around him. He told me what he misses from the city he left behind when his family moved out into the country several months ago. He offered me his jacket when the wind nearly succeeded in chasing me back inside. And I shared in his joy over "the best gift ever," kite string on a spool with handles that help him reel it in quickly and keep it under control more easily.

I feel like my spirit is emerging from a dark place, beginning to take flight, pushing toward the sun, riding on the currents of a cool spring wind.


Songbird said...

So happy for you! It's hard to capture in a comment box how thrilling it is to "watch" you making this journey.

concretegodmother said...

it's spring, dear. it sound as though you're like a crocus or daffodil pushing up out of the soil into the sunlight. take a deep breath and enjoy the light and warmth. very cool.

cheesehead said...

I love this. I'm honored that you share such things with us.


What Now? said...

Linda, I'm so happy for you, both that you have friends who will lure you out to fly kites (what a wonderful way to spend Easter afternoon!) and that you're finding the ordination path opening again.

ChrisP said...

kite flying, especially single line kites = fishing for angels :-)

Katherine E. said...

This is all so great, Linda. I'm happy to read all this...the connection with your past, the movement toward ordination, and especially flying a kite. I haven't done that sinced I was a little girl. Beautiful post.

Your fan,
Oh, and have fun teaching Duane's class today.

Marie said...

I agree with Songbird and I'm cheering and celebrating your decision. Hurrah! I loved the bit about searching for an accepting connection to your past. I'm still looking. I'm thrilled you found one.