The sun is trying to come out and the weather is trying to warm up and I am trying, unsuccessfully, to focus on my last paper of the semester. Today I am full of life and distraction, still riding on the leftover high from yesterday. I have not yet mastered the art of switching gears from “worship mode” to “academic mode” – giddily stuck in the heart space while I really need to be spending this time in the head space getting -that- part of the job done.
Yesterday afternoon was cold and raw and intermittently rainy, wet enough that I kept wanting to mumble good-natured curses about the Oregon weather even though I have not lived in that Portland for nine years now. I had the honor and privilege of joining with members of UUCC Augusta (Maine) and First Parish Portland (Maine) in the ordination of the Reverend Sharon Piantedosi at First Parish in Portland. I have no idea if joint ordinations are normal UU practice everywhere or if it’s just a Maine thing, but for me the act of two congregations coming together to ordain someone into the ministry is just the coolest polity thing ever: a reminder that we are not only our individual selves (as people or as congregations) but that we exist in relationship to each other and belong to a whole that is greater than the sum of its aggregate parts. Sometimes we forget.
This was my first opportunity to attend an ordination service. It’s possible that I will get tired of them before I run out of opportunities to attend them, but that has not happened yet – they are fewer and further between up here in the northern wilderness than somewhere like Boston. Sometimes I think you could probably attend at least one ordination a month in greater Boston if you weren’t picky about actually knowing the people involved. Up here, not so much.
The service was beautiful. I’m still riding the high. All the right things happened and most of them happened smoothly and most of them did not take too long and nobody is going to remember any of the slightly awkward bits. I am personally grateful and relieved that the music went smoothly: our music director was not available due to a prior commitment, and so I had agreed to be the music leader for the day. It’s not the first time I’ve led the choir, but it’s always a little nerve-wracking preparing to do it – it’s a different skill set at which I’m less practiced, and a very different feel than blending into a group. And I would not have refused. Filling in the hollow spaces is just… part of this thing I do.
So I did not walk in the processional with the clergy and other seminarians this time; I was standing up front with the choir to lead the congregation in singing them in. I have not mastered being in two places at once yet, either.
It fits, though; leading the music yesterday will be one of the last things I do in public as a lay member of UUCC. The worship service I lead later this month will be another. And then I will… be mostly gone, in CPE for the summer, and when Ingathering Sunday comes around in the fall my Sunday mornings will belong to my teaching congregation. I know of no plan yet for any kind of formal transition or break for me: relationships change, as we change within them, and my connection to my home congregation will spin down to the thinnest gossamer thread. I expect to be welcome when I show up, but our lives will have pulled away in different directions and I will no longer have any significant role to play there.
That was always the price of this becoming.