In some ways, it is becoming harder to write, especially for this blog. Each day, each week, brings new discoveries and new sources of delight and wonder. But they are so ordinary and homely that it seems absurd to think they’d be of interest to anyone. Increasingly, my days are shaped by routines of farming—there is a constant need to tend, to pay attention, to respond to the creatures that fill our life, the seedlings that are growing strong and sure out in our vegetable garden, the land we’ve been entrusted with.
I’m still ‘splorin—there’s a creamery not far from our house where I will be able to buy locally produced goat cheese. I have also stumbled into a day hiking group in Montgomery. Even these discoveries are ordinary as dirt.
Today, a diocesan update went out here in Alabama, announcing that Sherod has been appointed Priest in Charge at St. Paul’s, Carlowville, and I as Priest in Charge at St. Paul’s, Lowndesboro. There are pastoral visits to make, sermons to prepare, vestry meetings to lead; the rhythms of the liturgical year are starting to move through me again, and I with them, in ways that are deeply familiar, deeply cherished. It is magnificent to be back in parish ministry, if in a very circumscribed way.
Though my life is ordered and gentle and kind right now, the world is not. I read enough posts on Facebook, read the NYT, poke around on the Internet enough to know that whatever words I might have are inadequate to the horror, the pain and the brokenness that seems to be grinding our very planet, and its inhabitants, into a bloody pulp. I have found one small piece of writing that is helping me order and focus as I find my way back into local ministry. It was posted on Facebook by a friend, Janice Costas, whom I met at a conference a few years ago:
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work. But neither are you free to abandon it. The Talmud
I have a new faith community with which to start exploring what this might mean in this place, in this time. I am just not sure that the exploration involves me speaking or writing as much as it involves me trying to open spaces where others can engage this message with courage and generosity. I appreciate that there is less to say these days.
Ordinary as dirt is just grand for me. I count on hearing from you. It helps my life to know about yours. Am glad the diocese has officially announced about yours and Sherod’s positions at L’boro and Carlowville. We are just glad to have you close by.
Ordinary as dirt is lovely for me, as well; it’s so nice to hear from others who struggle with 21st century horrors; the inescapable struggle to live in the middle class; the continued and horrific bigotry and racism in our country, the devastation, hunger, drought and disease in our world…… The piece from the Talmud was so perfect today!
Please do send me your address; I have a book for you and sherod!