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Spending Time In Italics

Generally, I believe we all like to be moving forward, heading out with a full sail billowing overhead, breaking through the whitecaps that fall before our bow.  To be cruising along with our course charted out, where time is our friend and companion, and with possibilities that are 'out there', somewhere just beyond the horizon and around the next point of land.  Yes, surely the sense of moving in some direction gives us purpose and hope. 

But for me of late, this has been a time of 'dead calm'.  The wind has slipped from my sails and they luff quietly on the mast.  It has been a wonderful period of time to do little to nothing of any consequence, but that time has passed and I'm ready to get at it.  And yet, things remain quiet, slow, and without much if any momentum.  Surely the excitement builds, but there is concern of trying to push too hard, and peak too early.  And yet I've had to sit on this quiet expanse of water, waiting for the breeze to pick up, to grab my sail, fill it and speed me along, 

Sometimes it helps to give it a name to understand it, accept it, and maybe even maybe to appreciate it. 

I have been pulling up my various stakes that anchored my Tent of Meeting to the grounds of Grace.  It is a process of 'sending' and 'going'.  As I ready to begin seminary, it has become necessary to begin handing various roles off to others and standing down from different positions of ministry at my home parish.  They need to begin letting me go and they send me on, and I must continue to turn loose those things which have fed and formed me. 

Just the other day, in preparation for this weekend's semi-annual Altar Guild brunch and meeting yesterday and today's Corporate Communion, the outgoing president and I exchanged some emails regarding updates to the guild roster.  Realizing my service as a member of the guild was coming to a close, I suggested my name should be removed from the roster.  The president, a very good friend and member of my discernment committee, offered to leave my name on with a change to the font, signifying the inevitable change.  So I remain on the roster for a while longer, but will spend the remainder of this time 'in italics'.  Italics generally denotes someone who remains a member, but is inactive for a bit of time.  E thought this might help all of us accept what is and will happen eventually.

I have told many at Grace, yes I will be leaving, and obviously Heart Of My Heart will go also.  But we take them with us, and they will always be a part of our ministry.  Whatever it becomes and wherever it takes us, Grace sends us, but they also go on with us.  And I will always treasure my time on the Altar Guild.  Their gift to me yesterday was a copy of The American Psalter (copyright 1930).  It had its purpose at some point in the past aiding our worship, but of late it has had a different part in the daily life of the Altar Guild.  The inscription, written in what appears to be italics, says:

"May these words fill your heart and may this book insure your candles are always properly spaced." 

With God charting our course, we ready ourselves to go with grace from Grace.  May the winds always be at our back, and may our course always bring us about and lead us home.  While we sit in this quiet time, we know the breeze is coming, and that we'll be underway soon enough.