Thursday, August 9, 2007

All Teeth and Toenails, Part Deux

This is what I meant to post when I got all ranty, instead. Your pardon; it's awful and I wouldn't blame you if you skipped it. I thought about not posting it but sometimes I need to shout into the aether.

Crawling my way out of the depression to post. I've been horrendous about posting, commenting, replying to comments; I'm getting through comments now and I swear I'll respond.

What with the job thing and the Kerfluffle (not to mention missing church for three weeks in a row due to a variety of things) I've also found that I'm drifting away from God -- some days managing no more than a muttered 'Our Father' before drifting off into sleep. And I'd stopped even thinking about the vocation -- if I cause this level of dissension just being, how much worse would it be with the ordination to boot? How is it serving God to go around provoking people to yell at each other?

I hear, by the way, that people are being nasty about the whole thing. Please don't. It doesn't help either (any?) side of the discussion. No scolds of sermons or anything, just: Please don't.

Going back to church this Sunday has helped, somewhat. It was welcoming and familiar and exactly what I needed. Nothing huge and powerful, just home. Familiar ritual, familiar songs, the sermon and the Eucharist, greetings from the people there who have already become dear to me. I want to get more involved, but again I hold back: what if they found out? What if they rejected me, too?

Monday I'd planned to run some errands, get some things done around the house, and then go to an SCA picnic with Tim and Ray. Instead, round about noon I got into the car and just drove west. Up into the mountains, from which comes my help; my help comes from the Lord. I drove up Trail Ridge Road into the park, not stopping until I was nearly at the top; but along the way I passed a car accident. It was well under control, with sufficient EMTs to handle the medical end and plenty of people to direct traffic and such. I thought back to a post I read recently -- can't for the life of me remember where -- in which the lady blogger, a nurse and priest both, pulled over to offer to help. And while I'm not a nurse, I could always offer prayers -- but as a layman, I'd only be in their way, just another 'civilian' to worry about and trip over.

In this case, it seems the priesthood is merely a tool to reassure others, a badge of 'it's okay, I'm with God'. I could still pray for the hurt person, for those caring for him -- and I did -- but without that badge, I didn't feel that I could stop and offer my help. Is that all it is?

I don't think so, but it did get me thinking about the whole concept again. And I'm glad. I needed to be reminded, because with everything else I've got going on, I'd forgotten.

I kept driving, and didn't stop until I was above eleven thousand feet. I pulled into a space at a stop I hadn't been to before, and visited with the chipmunks for a while before setting off on a little windy half-mile path through the tundra. Even on a weekday the place was packed and I had little hope of solitude, but I struck up a conversation with a guy with a camera and an eye for the small things. Pointed out some maroon flowers he'd missed; he promised to send me copies once he'd downloaded them. I enjoyed it, especially since that's exactly the sort of pictures Tim likes to take.

Once he'd gone I spent a while climbing around on the rocks. Now that I've remembered how -- trust your feet, trust the rocks, as I learned once, and forgot -- I find it immensely calming. Everything centers down to move one hand, then one foot; lift your head just enough to see the next handhold. Gritty sandstone and smooth chunky granite, reds and blacks and gleaming white. Lichens in improbably bright colours and tiny threads of plants growing out of places where no life should be able to survive. I found a little niche in the rock and sat there, gazing out across the mountains from what felt like the roof of the world, to meditate a while. To my surprise what came to my mind was a chant to Ganesh that I'd learned a while ago and hadn't used in months. So that's what I chanted -- is it wrong to ask Ganesh to intercede with God, as if he were one of the Christian saints? I'm not sure myself, but it felt right in that moment. And walking back down the path, even surrounded by people, I felt the lightening of heart that I always get from walking in nature.

Of course, not only did I miss the picnic, I didn't even have cell reception to call Tim and let him know I wasn't going to make it. Fortunately, I'm not now involved with someone who'll blow up at me and call me names for that sort of thing (though I wouldn't have been surprised if he was a little upset at not knowing where I was). I had just about enough energy to drive home and eat popcorn for dinner before passing right out for the night.

I'm trying to get back on track with my faith; I don't want to risk forgetting about God again. Of course, I'm also trying to get a job, trying to go back to school, trying to keep my relationships together while trying to figure out if that's even wise...but that was another post, wasn't it?

I just heard back about an application I put in for an admin job at Colorado University. They want me to show up next Thursday for testing related to the job -- an arithmetic test and an 'administrative support basic' test. I should kick ass on both of those, so I've a good feeling about it. And working at the university should get me a goodly discount on tuition, yes?

Course, Thursday is also the day my mom arrives from Pennsylvania for her visit. Nothing simple, huh? Hope she gets in in the evening. If no, I'll give her directions to Pearl Street and she can shop until I'm done. Or maybe just leave a key with Ray and let her get settled in at my place...

Hanging in there.


David Oliver Kling said...

So that's what I chanted -- is it wrong to ask Ganesh to intercede with God, as if he were one of the Christian saints?

I don't think its wrong, as a matter of fact I pray to Ganesh before most of my major endeavors because it is customary to pray to Ganesh, at least to some people, before starting a new project. Ganesh is also comforting when I feel I'm in the middle of a "lost cause," since he is very comforting that way. This doesn't mean that I don't also pray to Jesus. I'm often very comforted by recitation of the "Jesus Prayer," which goes: Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." I also use a modified version of the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, divine Logos, show me the way of non-attachment."

I'm just one (Independent Sacramental) Bishop, but its my advice to go ahead and pray to Ganesh!

Regarding a vocation to the priesthood. That should be approached cautiously anyhow, with humility. If it is too coveted then it might be desired for the wrong reason. Prayer, contemplation, and inner reflection these are important things. The opportunity for ordination, at least in the ISM, will present itself if it is meant to be.

HilbertAstronaut said...

I'm actually getting a little attached to Guan Yin myself ;-)

Good idea to go out alone in nature for a while -- that's something I need to do. Even a little walk helps me, but I haven't done that in a while.

I can tell when I haven't prayed for a long while, because then I get more cranky and selfish ;-P It's just one of those signs, like M. noticing that my breath is stinky and concluding (correctly) that I haven't eaten enough vegetables lately.

*hugs* for you!

Catherine + said...

Your time was well spent in the wilderness; Jesus and John the Baptist found great comfort and revelation in it. I am glad you went there, Kate and spoke with God--through the servant of the moment--Ganesh. God glorifies Himself in His messengers to different cultures and places. I am glad your heart was eased by this time alone. God bless you as you discern your calling. This is why I am a chaplain and not a priest but an ordained minister.

Go with God; He goes with you.

Rev. Sharon said...

Oh, sweetie, it sounds like a wonderful trip--and I have no problem with talking to Ganesh or anyone else who is of the Light and presents him/herself for my conversation. Ganesh is good company! I'm sure God loves him just as much as God loves you. {{{hugs}}} Good to see you posting again--you are in my prayers constantly!

Much Love,

Hedwyg said...

Hope all is well, dear one. Have been thinking about you and holding you in the Light.


Kate said...

Thanks all, for prayers and reassurance. I do awfully like Ganesh!

Hilbert, get thyself into the wilderness! I said so. Also, I went out several months ago intending to buy a Ganesh statue and came home with Kwan Yin instead. Not sure why, but she's sat on my altar ever since as a reminder to be compassionate. Not something I ever thought I'd have a problem with, but it's actually something I need to work on now. :/

Catherine+ and David, I am indeed taking my discernment slowly. And watching for that covetousness -- I know I get that way sometimes. :/ I don't see myself being a parish priest which is generally how things work in the ISM anyway, so that's fine.

Catherine+, I'd like to hear more on the differences between priest and chaplain in your perspective. I've already given some thought to some sort of campus ministry and this sounds like something I ought to consider.

Been continuing to get outside more, an going with Tim and Ray both, too. It's helped a bit.

eileen said...


So much on your plate.

You are in my prayers...I'm holding you in the light!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Kate, it was Elizabeth Kaeton at Telling Secrets who came upon the accident. I'm too lazy to do a link.

I'm glad you're crawling out of your depression. It's not unusual for depressed folks to give up on God. Whenever you turn back, s/he's ready and waiting.

Prayers for you and well wishes on your job application.

LittleMary said...

in thinking about ray more, he just seems really tough to be in any kind of relationship with. just sayin...

Kate said...

It is tough, Little Mary, and would be so even if all we were was friends.I just don't know what to do.

Right now, Grandmère, I don't know if I'm crawling out or if I just popped above water for a moment. Sunday I woke up feeling just crappy and couldn't talk myself into going to church. I have been praying more often this week, though, and reading things that have got me thinking in a Godward direction again -- so that's got to help.

Thanks for the info on that post -- that's why I couldn't find it!

Eileen, Grandmère, thank you both for the prayers.