Tomorrow I'll be fifty years old. A rather amazing thing. I never thought I'd see thirty, which makes the last twenty years gravy, I suppose.
Thanks to the plotting of DW and some friends from the parish, I was "surprised" with a reception in my honor this morning. It was quite sweet. The children all made darling posters and sang some songs. Plenty of food and laughter all around.
Two photos were displayed that I suspect could be used for a future blackmail attempt. A few weeks ago, we held a spaghetti dinner and cabaret. I offered a rendition of Arlo Guthrie's The Motorcycle Song ("I don't want a pickle..."). For the occasion, I wore a rather bizarre outfit consisting of a wild wig, leather jacket and Harley denim vest, boots, and leather chaps. Some saw this as a photo op. This morning, framed 8 x 10s were displayed of their interim vicar looking like a member of the Village People. And I had hoped to land a job in this diocese after I was done here. Of course, a parish that would be shocked by such behavior is probably not a place to which I would feel called, anyway.
DW gifted me with a new Almy cassock. For 15 years, I have been using a hand-me-down choir cassock. I justified that simple garment by claiming that it subtly stated my identity with the poor; a Franciscan kinda thing. Over the years, it has gotten to look pretty shabby, however. I think that now that I am at the age that I am eligible for AARP discounts, maybe it's time to splurge just a bit. Besides, the deep sleeves will finally offer me somewhere to put my handkerchief where it is accessible.
My in-laws gave me a new surplice (Old English; the ones with angel wings). About eight years ago, I caught the sleeve of my old one in the car door while exiting a cemetery. The rip had never been mended.
The parish gave me a tippet (do you see the pattern here? Someone wants a sung office, maybe?). They also included the emblem of the Episcopal Church, and of Nashotah House, to be sewn onto it. I'm not sure I'll do that. I've always thought patches on a tippet were a bit much. And, I'm not sure I want to advertise for Nashotah House at the present moment. A nice gift, though. Certainly not the kind of thing I would have bought for myself.
I'm going to miss this parish. A wonderful group of people. We shared in the baptism of a beautiful child today. Many guests, some of whom were escorted to the party after the liturgy. I'm scheming about Lent, and everyone I asked to help agreed to do so without any arm twisting.
A day in a parish like this allows some of the turmoil in the larger Church to fade a bit. We may be battered, and even torn asunder; but I see evidence that we will survive.
FROM low to high doth dissolution climb,
And sink from high to low, along a scale
Of awful notes, whose concord shall not fail;
A musical but melancholy chime,
Which they can hear who meddle not with crime
Nor avarice, nor over-anxious care.
Truth fails not; but her outward forms that bear
The longest date do melt like frosty rime,
That in the morning whiten'd hill and plain
And is no more; drop like the tower sublime
Of yesterday, which royally did wear
His crown of weeds, but could not even sustain
Some casual shout that broke the silent air,
Or the unimaginable touch of Time.