This week has seen the commemoration of quite a few significant firsts: the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin, 12 April 1961), and the adoption of the Union Jack as the official British flag (1801).
On a far more personal level, it has been a period of significant firsts for me, too. This past weekend, Team DEB completed our massive 15K charity swim. It was amazing. We were utterly exhausted after a week of hard-core swimming, but the finish was positively exhilarating!
We had balloons in the pool, and we popped a cork and had champers after we crossed the finish line. And, it was a team finish, as we swam the last lap in tandem. Marvelous, and a truly incredible experience.
From this awesome experience, I have learned that I am much stronger and braver than I realize; and that people are far more generous than you might expect. Same time next year? Absolutely!
My other “big first” was assisting The Vicar in his School Ministry pre-Easter assembly programmes. Another amazing experience. Very early mornings, working with adorably well-behaved schoolchildren, leading them in acting out the stories of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
The request came as a bit of a surprise, but then, not really. First of all, with my theatre background, I should hardly ever be surprised when anyone asks me to do anything!
And secondly – a rather big confession coming here – a few weeks ago, I met with The Vicar to have “the talk”. The “vocations” talk, the “I-think-I-might-be-being-called-to-do-something” talk.
For many, many years, in fact, I have toyed with the idea of pursuing holy orders and becoming a Deacon. At my old parish in NYC, there was something in the air it seemed. Every week someone else was signing up for Holy Orders and joining the Deaconate! It really was that sort of zealous, joyous place. I never did then. Only because I wanted to be sure that my “call” was mine, and not just a case of collective exuberance!
I now feel, more than ever, that my calling, is, well,…calling. I love my tiny, English parish, and I do wish to serve it in any ways I can. I’m currently a member of the Parish Council, a part of the Morning Prayers group, and recently became a church “key holder” (My father would be so proud. He was a long-life Church Warden.)
My dear friend, Paul, recently became ordained, and we met for coffee a few weeks ago in Stratford-upon-Avon to discuss “the journey”. Paul’s situation is really interesting. His chosen position is that of “Ordained in Secular Employment”, which basically means he is ordained, but maintains his regular job, and once a week he wears his clerical collar to work. Very interesting, to reveal and live out ones faith in such a way.
I like the choice that Paul has made, and I really appreciate that the Church of England has so many unique paths to follow for those wish to serve. Of course, it is still very, very early days for me. This is a path that will take years and years to come to fruition, if it does at all.
The period of “discernment” both for the potential candidate, and for the powers that be is quite lengthy and arduous. Then, if one is even successful to make it through those phases, there are years and years of training to follow. (More school?) So, at the moment I am just taking my time, seeking and thinking about it.
First things, first.
From the sublime, to the ridiculous: my last big first is…packing. The DEB and I are off for three days in Ghent. The DEB is attending a training session for work, while I get to play “The Corporate Wife” at long last!!
Of course, I had to buy a new travel case that looks appropriately “Corporate Wife” enough. I opted for stylish and small. The DEB stunned when he saw the case. He thought it was a new handbag. “You’ll never get all your clothes in that,” he laughed heartily. I am determined to prove him wrong! I can pack light.
And, that will truly be a first.