It’s a season of anniversaries in late September and early October: second wedding, first wedding, my father’s death (which occurred weirdly on the anniversary of the first wedding, just after the first divorce) and more happily, my ordination, which took place on this day, nine years ago. In looking at the pictures from that day, I’ve been inspired to clean up my digital picture files, including deleting some pictures altogether. I threw my wedding album from the first go-round into a dumpster when I sold the house we lived in together after the divorce, which was probably not wise but felt pretty good at the time. Somehow deleting a person from the digital record feels more cold-blooded, but that’s coming, too.
My ordination is still a happy anniversary. Many of the people important to my journey toward ministry were able to participate in the service. The first people to come up for Communion were my children. A number of the people in the pictures have died since then and are much-missed. In the background I can see the folks of Stevens Avenue Congregational Church, whose pastor I was about to become. In the foreground are the good friends from Woodfords Congregational Church who challenged me to improve my ordination paper, who stood by me when my personal life became chaotic during seminary, and who put on a beautiful party that day.
It was the end of the world as I knew it, and I felt fine.
Worries about what I might actually be doing from day to day and whether I really knew how were yet to come.
Old blogging friends might recognize the picture above and its purple companion, my longtime blogging avatar. I’m not so careful about the sharing of my identity now. Instead of a secret club meeting, blogging is part of my ministry, which means this post and the last probably seem uncomfortably revelatory. But this is where I am, nine years after being ordained. Mistakes, I’ve made a few. Revelations, I’ve had several, and I’m grateful for them. I didn’t end up with the biography I expected, but I’m in ministry, and that part feels right, and at 50 I’m finally figuring out who I am personally and feeling better about myself for it.
God calls us as we are — God already knows our gifts and potential and secret dreams and inner hearts — and if we’re faithful, we become more the person God made us to be. That’s the place I’m in, and it’s in some ways the end of the world of the first nine years I was in ministry, and I feel fine.