NOT WHAT I INTENDED TO WRITE...
In Mother Sarah’s sermon from October 25, she said five words that made me smile, made me a bit weepy, and made me remember how powerfully the mysteries of God and my faith resonate in me. “The story belongs to God.”
Since hearing that, something lifted from me that I have been staggering under for months now. It’s not gone, but I have felt as though my eyes are opened, my ears unstopped, and my breaths are deeper. I don’t know what exactly I’ve been laboring under – maybe struggling to have control of some sort – but it probably doesn’t matter to name it exactly; I just need to know what helps it dissipate.
Apparently, it takes just a few words, and for me to hear them.
I have found that being with all of you makes me a better listener, because words that nourish, illuminate, challenge, reassure, and question comes from within each of you. I’ll never lose the wonder for all the things you have helped me learn through what you have shared. I have mentioned this many times over the years, and still find it amazing – Sarah and Rebecca (and everyone before them) are wise, caring guides for our journey, but we all light the way a bit as well.
Today, Sarah spoke about Roger Motter’s altar. I tagged along after Roger for many years, trying to figure out everything he knew about St.Catherine’s, trying to understand how he could know so much about so many things, and trying to write it down. I didn’t do very well at any of that. However, I did learn to stop asking him ‘why’. Why are there so many different light bulbs? Why was that installed that way? Why are those things in there? The answers were not often illuminating; “Because that’s what we had to work with.” “Because that’s the only way they would fit.” and “I don’t know!” I enjoyed it immensely; there was the plan, and then there was the story of how the plan worked out.
I love that the altar he built, with logic and good sense and his kitchen cabinets, is functional and wheeled but ugly. I love that it is made beautiful through our use of it for God. It reminds me of my own potential, or my self as I am, in God’s eyes, and that makes me smile. (Grace is something I haven’t granted myself much of these days.) And now I have a story to tell about that altar, one I didn’t know.
My story is a bit disjointed, yes. I had intended to write about being part of vestry, how it is a gift and a humbling experience to be with twelve good people who add up to far more than a dozen, even considering my troubled relationship with math. I thought about writing about Stewardship, and my difficulty in focusing outward when my turmoils of self have demanded so much of my attention. Or faith, which is easy to pronounce as a noun, but needs a surprising amount of practice to exercise as a verb.
But this is what came out when I sat down to write. And, in trying not to control too much in my creative life, so that creativity actually comes to sit with me, I’m going to let go of what I intended and just follow the words as God sent them. Stories come that way, if I let them.
So this writing is, apparently, about just being with St.Catherine’s. Via Zoom meetings or coffee hour, or sitting on the brick pavers in the chair my dad made, listing to Jana’s music and looking down and thinking about the hands that laid those bricks, and the names on them… all the feet that have travelled the labyrinth… all the friends that have gathered around the memorial garden, standing three or four deep to listen and say goodbye… all the preschool and Catechesis voices filling the air… the parking lot that never quite seemed big enough but still finds some room for us to gather… it’s just all part of our story, God’s story. Thank you all, for writing in your parts, by being part.