I’ve realized over the last week or so that I don’t think I’ve said enough about why I’m doing this work. Not enough about why I feel so strongly about The Way of the River, why I’m learning new software, why I’m shanghaiing loved ones into my process, and mainly, not enough about why the hell does this process keep making me cry with joy and anticipation.
As some of you know, I have blogged on and off for the last few years. I wrote on Diaryland, briefly on Livejournal, then through a WordPress site called Storms and Reflections. Then last year, I worked on a site designed to help me land a positions as a minister at a Unitarian Universalist congregation.
Each of those has gotten me closer and closer to the work I am here to do. To giving the gifts I have to give. To living into the purpose I can fulfill.
Various religious communities have gotten me closer and closer, as well, beginning with my upbringing at Our Lady of Victory.
I was reared Roman Catholic, and really grew up through the music program at Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic parish in State College, Pennsylvania. I sang and directed choirs. I was a cantor. I played handbells. I accompanied on the piano and occasionally played the organ. I even taught Sunday School from time to time.
From the time I was 8 until I was 18, I was deeply, deeply involved with the liturgical seasons of Roman Catholicism. I prayed the Rosary in October and May. I loved singing the Litany of the Saints on November 1 each year. I loved Advent and Lent, Christmas, Easter, Ascension, Visitation Day…so many days of the year were important to me. When I was confirmed at the age of 11, I was serious about this whole initiation thing.
But then I came out as lesbian. Almost overnight, the community that had been so important to me closed its doors. My parents were wonderful and supportive, caring and encouraging. My former community, however, wanted little to do with me. I lost some of my closest friends and access to the music that had shaped my weeks, months, and years.
The Roman Catholic Church could not hold all of what I was.
And furthermore, later in my life when I returned for a relatively brief sojourn to Catholicism, I found that yes, for sure, the faith my heart follows could not be contained there.
Years later, after seeking and wandering, I came to Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary. I spent twelve years in a place I still consider blessed, though I left in 2008, for reasons not relevant to this story.
If I learned liturgical ritual, feast days, and smells-and-bells from the Catholic Church, it was at Four Quarters that I began to make those things my own.
More to follow in Part Two