I am taking an early lunch in the midst of a wild and wooly whirlwind. This is the part of a new job when you are climbing the learning curve so fast you can’t look down or you’ll get dizzy and fall off. It is good. In fact, it feels fiercely good—intense, certainly challenging at times, sorta breathtaking. No church ever has as many resources as it needs and at the same time, the Ascension has so much it boggles my mind. Deep leadership bench strength. Generosity. Wit. Faith. I had lunch yesterday with the vestry person who supports faith formation, especially for adults, and with my boss. One is a very successful builder who also owned a restaurant for years and years. The other moved from the UK to take the job of rector; he’d been in the UK working on a D.Phil. from Oxford. Some of the time, I felt like I was following a tennis ball back and forth in a good match. It’s just plain fun.
Since then, I have been working on an assortment of pastoral care and community needs, writing for a couple of our publications, getting my mind around some of the work I’ve been tasked with—how to build the lightest possible structure to support a complex ministry. The afternoon and evening today are jam packed as well. I fall asleep early and exhausted most days now.
I find the sanity, the deeply joyful sanity, in moments of piercing beauty. Yesterday, I got home while it was still daylight. Sherod was out doing some carpentry in his shop and there’s been a small and persistent fall breeze stirring through our Sycamore for days now. The ground has lots of browned leaves that crackle wonderfully underfoot. I put our new baby Mo on his leash and told Daisy to behave long enough to open the chicken coop to let the girls and Bruce out for their daily rummage and ranging. I sat on my fake plastic Adirondack and Daisy immediately jumped on my lap. It wasn’t too long and Dot, our outdoor cat, came around demanding some loving time too and made a place for herself alongside Daisy. Daisy, not one to take to sharing kindly, jumped off my lap and went to sit by Sherod who had now joined me.
A few minutes later, one of the Plymouth Rock girls, Mechitas, first hopped on the arm of my chair and then on my arm, clucking and fussing, with Dot still making biscuits on my lap, less than an inch away from her. I looked over at my Spouseman who, with tears in his eyes quoted, “the wolf and the lamb…”, from that lovely passage from Isaiah that gives words to our perennial hope for peace.
The Sunday flowers at Ascension are usually lovely. This week, they were especially beautiful because on Saturday, Solomon Seay, one of the icons of the Civil Rights Movement, was buried from our church. Yesterday, when I came into my office, a fragrant, beautiful bouquet with some of the flowers was sitting on my desk. Today, Miss Hazel, one of our parishioners, stopped for a quick visit to welcome me and bring me some of her cheese straws. Grace, graciousness and kindness ‘midst the tumult of the days…