Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'd live this day again

Sometimes, more frequently of late, I have a day I call an "Our Town" day. In that Thornton Wilder play, the main character has died but gets the opportunity to relive one day, but the stipulation is that it has to be an ordinary day, not a wedding day, not the day a child was born, an ordinary day.

Today began as a very ordinary day but, by day's end, was extraordinary in the richness of the texture and connection and depth of how I lived and moved and breathed through it.

It began with my son trying to find the words to express the depth of his love for me. Mom, what's 60 times 100,000? Six million. That's how much I love you.

We celebrated this silly little milestone of Ryan turning 5 1/2 with pancakes in the shape of a five and a fraction and an airplane to sop up the remaining syrup.

I had second breakfast with a woman who has been my unofficial mentor since my first inklings of a call to ministry. It was delightful and affirming and painfully candid and very, very life-giving. For both of us, I think.

And then, I got to make good on a promise of more than two years to give a bedroom set that had belonged to my grandmother to a woman who lost her home in the Cedar Fire. I promised it to her at a women's retreat two years ago, but she hasn't had anywhere to put it until now. She and her husband came to get it today and were amazed by its beauty. It was so nice for me to see it through the eyes of someone who not only needed it but appreciated it. She hesitated, remembering I had said it had been my grandmother's, but she finally agreed to take it if I would simply consider it on loan to her. I didn't tell her it was the bed where I spent many a very early morning nursing Ryan in his infancy. I knew if I did she wouldn't take it.
It was a joy to see something I value so valued by someone else. And now, the room can become a play room for Ryan.

Each movement of the day just added to the richness and beauty.

I had a brief but deeply engaged email exchange with a friend that fed my hope that I am not alone in some of my defining values and concerns. Among them, truth, beauty, freedom, but most of all love. (Though, with me truth sometimes ties with love.)

I had my weekly field education meeting with Jim today. It was a debrief of Sunday's sermon in which, among other things, I felt abandoned by the Spirit for only the second time. But it was a good learning experience and our conversation was rich and deep. And then we talked about my case study for field ed, which is about a very painful and personal experience I had recently that has altered how I behave at "work", though not in ministry. And both were candid and direct and beautiful conversations that made me thankful again to be working at First Church.

And then there was Vespers, which sustains me. Preparing for Vespers, I read the scriptures and realized that I would get to stand in the same lectern from which my words were a bit squishy and confusing on Sunday and redeem the error both by reading the Gospel, which was anything but squishy and participate in communion. And I remembered what Molly always says about the redemptive values of communion on any mistakes we make, knowingly or not, in worship.

And the beauty of Vespers, which sustains me, was that I felt the palabable presence of the Spirit. I felt overcome by the Spirit and I welcomed her in. As I stood to read the Gospel, my heart was pounding in my chest. And I was thankful.

And a suprising joy tonight of Vespers, which sustains me, was getting to watch the youngest member of the St. Paul Cathedral Men and Boy's Choir wriggle, yawn, squirm and fidget through their performance in ways that could have been scripted by Frank Capra. It was this unimaginable gift of humanity of laughter of appreciating a moment in time that could not be captured with a camera or even words. But the memory movie will play in my mind for some time.

And serving communion is also a gift and a pleasure and a grace beyond words.

As I was leaving Vespers, a woman whose father is dying came up to me in tears so intense my first assumption was that her father had died. But she was simply letting me know that he was now at a hospice. I asked her if I could go with her to visit her father after dinner. (Dinner was with Jeff and Ryan on the occasion of his unbirthday. He picked the restaurant -- TGIFridays -- and neither Jeff nor I remembered where the one in Mission Valley was, but Ryan gave us directions!)

At the hospice, the father awakened and was alert and glad to see us both. We planned to sing his favorite hymns to him, but, as we were not too far into Amazing Grace when the daughter began crying and came to me for a hug. I comforted her and kept singing and her father joined me, singing the second verse of Amazing Grace in his own beautiful attempt to comfort his daughter. We shared communion and more songs but that second verse of Amazing Grace was the true sacrament.

And then, as has become my habit, I called my mother on my drive to school and we had a wonderful talk and in it she told me about a dream she had where Dad kissed her and it felt so real to her that she just accepted it as his love.

An amazing day of depth and grace and love and Spirit and connection, wonderful, wonderful connection.

I'd live this day again in a heartbeat.


molly said...

I wish many more of these days for you!

What good stuff...

How cool that you've helped shape your life in such a way that these things are possible?

John Meunier said...


This strikes me as much more than an ordinary day.