The best and worst of times
My dear friends, I'm sorry I've been out of touch. I appreciate you so much.
The last weeks have been the best of times and the worst of times.
I'll start with the worst. Our interim rector, Father M. died suddenly, Saturday afternoon. I suppose "suddenly" is a relative concern. He was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, with a heart problem I understand he'd had all his life. He was back at church last Sunday, though, and looking well.
He apparently went to bed for a little nap yesterday, and didn't wake up.
It's not at all the worst way to go. Still, it wrenched my heart. Father M. was an unfailingly kind and gentle man. He orchestrated a wonderful service so I could grieve surrounded by friends when my mother died, back in September.
Father M. celebrates the Eucharist during our church cruise in November:
Depart, O Christian soul, out of this world;
In the Name of God the Father Almighty who created you;
In the Name of Jesus Christ who redeemed you;
In the Name of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you;
May your rest be this day in peace
and your dwelling place in the Paradise of God.
(From The Book of Common Prayer, "A Commendation at the Time of Death.")
I am grieving now, but couldn't join the congregation today. My car is temporarily out of service, and I'm put out the mechanic didn't get it fixed the end of the week. That's the trouble with my commute to church. It's a bit far.
Regardless, I know Father M. is in the glorious and joyful company of the saints in heaven.
Mostly work, some play
I've been slammed with work the past weeks (OK, a month) since my last post. I keep getting hit with one late-breaking story after another, cool in a way, but difficult when I'm working two jobs. I've often gone from one job to the next, then back to the first to finish writing a story. Then either go out with friends for a glass of wine to stave off isolation, or home to fall in bed, so I can start another day in the morning.
At least being without a running car has given me time at home this weekend (and time to blog!).
Work hasn't been all bad. I've gotten to do some neat things. I took an airplane ride in a World War II vintage Texan, an advanced trainer aircraft, when History Flight came through on a barnstorming tour.
I figured on a quick five or 10 minutes around the airport, but the pilot took me up for a great flight, putting the plane through its paces. We did a variety of loops and rolls over the countryside. It was wonderful.
Last week, I found out I will be the recipient of not one, but two journalism awards from the state press association. One is for a series on our local homeless people, and another for religion writing. Not too shabby!
Saving the best for last: claiming the blessing
We had a great healing mission at the church not long after my last posting, with Jack and Anna Marie Sheffield. I came with no great expectations, after disappointment with big talk from leaders but not much happening at other healing missions the past few years.
I received inner healing, deep in my heart and spirit, as we prayed. I can't explain it; I just accept it. I felt the Spirit of God surround me, the words of his love pouring out on me, and his love, which is healing, flow through me.
I've had more peace since than than I've had in my adult life. Not that family, financial and other problems have disappeared, by any means.
After a month to make sure I didn't experience just a temporary emotional reaction to the mission, I know I'm operating more from a center of peace to deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, for God is my shield. I've know this, but now I know it in a more deeply personal way.
I've been inner focused, any time I've had a chance to rest. That had a lot to do with my lack of blogging.
Healing hasn't come to me in one big pow. It comes in smaller and larger measures. That's all right; the divine hands are doing the measuring.