On August 1 I became officially unemployed. I had resolved that I would do what I could do to remain a priest. (Once priested, for the most part, always priested.) But I do not mean the condition of being a priest, but rather an active priest, doing priestly things. My prayer was, and remains, that God would open doors for me to keep doing and being who I am, but not for my sake, but to be who I am in Him.
In my final days at St. Thomas’, I put out an invitation on Facebook. It was a simple thing, an open invitation for people to openly invite me to do whatever: coffee, lunch, celebrate, fill-in-the-blank. I was delighted, as some invites did come, mostly from friends looking out for me. I was invited to celebrate communion at a retirement home at the end of the month. And I had a church call about preaching and celebrating Labor Day weekend. It was a go.
On the end of the first day of unemployment, I did get a call to come back up to camp to be the Chaplain to the Staff at the camps where I serve, and I could not be more excited. It was out of the blue, but a natural fit. I am a priest, and the mountain needs a priest to celebrate and give spiritual comfort to a bunch of people pouring themselves out 110% to these kids. So it is a hand-in-glove fit.
I asked in my prayers for a way for me to run to yes. I believe that something bigger, better, bolder and beautifuler (I know, I know, more beautiful, but I was going for parallelism), will happen. But it all starts with me living by faith, and living into that faith.
The other night I had a tender moment with my daughter. She had been little Miss Attitude all day. When she finally felt comfortable with being honest, she let me know how scared she was. I had said in my final sermon that I knew we would be okay, and that my family was not scared. She took it to heart. She was upset that she actually was scared, and I had told people she wasn’t. I let her know that that was okay, that what I had “preached” was the truth as I knew it. I also let her know that there is a difference between feeling scared and acting from our fears. I feel scared. We have months of savings, plans for next steps, and a lot of friends working on our behalf. I have a bevy of bishops (our blessed three in the Diocese of Virginia) who have encouraged me in this time in their own way. My feelings are fleeting, my faith is one of years of seeing God’s handiwork at play. It has been tempered by triumphs and tragedies. It was forged in years of boom and bust. And now we have an opportunity to practice what we preach, again.
Even in writing this, I am reminded, that the first day I was unemployed I was called and asked to come and be priestly. If I was not open to what the Universe was going to open up I could not have said yes and arrive in 21 hours. (Thanks to my dear wife and in-laws who enabled this to happen, too.) But the Spirit is opening doors I cannot imagine. I have to believe that. We have come too far too fast for this to be anything more than a speedbump.
So if you have need of me, as a buddy, or a pal, or a priest, remember I am your friendly, neighborhood Priest-at-Large and look forward to doing what I can, while I can, as soon as I get back from camp anyway. Thanks God for all the reminders for the times when I am like your disciples repeatedly were, O ye of little faith.
This is the blog of the Rev. Rock Higgins: I am the Episcopal Priest to the Center of the Universe. Really. This blog goes from my ordination to the present. Sins of omission and commission are fully my own, and I am leaning on the Grace-upon-Grace in my following of Christ. I serve as the Rector of St. James the Less Episcopal Church in Ashland, VA, also known as the Center of the Universe (CotU) to the locals.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
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Love your perspective. Your attitide of ALLOWING Spirit to guide you in a conscious way is KEY.................Hope to see you soon. Brother Lawerence in ,"Practicing The Presence," would say that you are exactly where you are supposed to be on that Holy Mountain, blooming where you are planted.ReplyDelete
Thanks Andrew! One day, one step at a time.ReplyDelete