So I borrowed the title for this post from a late 90’s hit by Semisonic. For those who didn’t listen to 90’s pop music or who may not remember, it’s the song “Closing Time.” Seems like an appropriate theme for this week. And I’m not just talking about the race. It’s true, the race is over. And I finished in a record 34 minutes and 40 seconds. This my friends is between a 10-11 minute mile. And that’s including allergies and walking over the finish line. Yep. I had about a tenth of a mile to go. I could see the finish line. I could feel the phelgm in my nose and thoat. What I couldn’t do was breath. So I stopped running. I walked. The closer I got to the finish the line the more people raced passed me. The crowd cheered and my inner demons tried to taunt me, tantilize me, and torment me. I said, “No!” A twofold success…training and running the race….and listening to my body at the end while telling my shoulda, woulda, coulda voice to sit down and shut up. Truly every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.
That was Saturday. Today is Tuesday. And it continues to be a week of endings and beginnings. Of course there’s the obvious ending. Or at least closing of a chapter with world events (I’m not even going to dig into that one here) There’s the ending of another semester, another academic year, another season. And personaly there is another ending and beginning. Part of it is recognizing the ending of the ordination process and the beginning of life as a Reverend. Sounds so strange in some respects. Me? Me! Me?!? I try my best to live one day at time, put one foot in front of the other. Some days I do this very well, most days I’m ok, and some days…not so good. I guess what I mean by that is this whole seeing myself as a “Rev” has been an adjustment to my own preconceptions of myself and ministry. It’s been a long road, and like the race, has taken a bit of training. So, this new beginning comes with the end of a long journey.
Then there’s the end of a year of challenge. That ending started a couple of months ago. And today I’m not so much interested in going into the pain and suffering of the last year but rather acknowledging the spiritual work it takes to get to resurrection. Like no other year I truly lived the liturgical calendar from Easter 2010 to Easter 2011. And life events–both personal and professional–always invited me to engage. Actively waiting, epiphanies, wilderness journeys, and yes, even resurrection. And what I’ve realized through it all is that it is all blessing. Now, I’m not saying I like it all. I want to relive it all. I would choose it all. Or there weren’t moments of pain, injustice, and hurt. No. Those are all true. What is also true is that I faced these challenges in new ways. I allowed myself the dignity of my own feelings. I allowed others the dignity of seeing and hearing them. I’ve talked back and talked up in situations where I would have been silent and sat with some ideas that I would have blurted out in the past. And in all of this something has shifted. Something in me. Something miraculous. And that is the blessing.
Quotations for the Week
“Closing time…Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” (Semisonic)
“We were blessed by the minister / Who practiced what he preached / We were blessed by the poor man / Who said heaven is within reach / We were blessed by the girl selling roses /Who Showed us how to live /We were blessed by the neglected child /
Who knew how to forgive / We were blessed by the battered woman / Who didn’t seek revenge / We were blessed by the warrior
Who didn’t need to win / Yes we were blessed” (Lucinda Williams)