The crepe myrtles are just on the cusp of blooming here in Kentucky. I grew to love crepe myrtles when I lived in Texas because they grew with abandon in the oppressive heat of West Texas; the wild beauty of the dark pink or the bright white always stood in contrast to the cloudless blue sky and the bright brown dirt.
I’m the type of person who loves to take note of time that has past and to reflect on all that has happened and all that might come. I love the turn of the new year, and I love anniversaries. I love remembering that a year ago, when I moved to Bowling Green, the crepe myrtles were in bloom. I love to take time to remember where I was , to remember all that has changed, and all that I still hope to come. I love it to an almost obnoxious level, but still there’s just something that delights me deep in my soul to reflect back on those big events that changed my life in ways that I wasn’t even aware of at the time.
A year ago today, I was ordained to the transitional diaconate. Sometimes in reflection on anniversaries, it can feel like it was just yesterday, but my ordination feels like it was years ago.
This is, no doubt, in part to the fact that I have lived a lot of life in these 365 days. My friend, Kester, who preached at that ordination reflected on this reality as it’s true for both of us. He preached that sermon from a wheel chair, almost bound there full time, and now, a year later, he takes daily walks with his son.
Any time life is full of new things time moves slowly, rather than flying by. Adults get to experience this when we do new things, like explore a new place or learn a new hobby, and kids live every day this way, which is why 5 minutes is a really, really long time to waaaiit.
This has been a year full of new.
It’s not just a new city or a new vocation; it’s not just a new house or a new dog. This year has also been full of falling in love with crepe myrtles again; it’s been learning and praying within a whole new community. This year’s brought dozens of other new things, which has made the year feel warm and slow, like molasses that takes it’s own sweet time.
While this year probably would have felt like a very full year without Not Cancer, with it, it has felt like multiple years. It feels this way because, of course, new is hard, and after surgery, everything was new learning process again. It feels this way because for a chunk of time, before we knew Not Cancer was not cancer, I had to begin to see the calendar not in weeks, but in chemo therapy intervals. It feels like this because trying to navigate the slow demand of recovery takes most of the energy available.
And it also feels like it’s been years since a year ago, because Bowling Green already feels like home. It feels years because when you navigate a traumatic situation with people it bonds you to them, and this is true for my relationship with the people of Christ Church. It feels like I’ve been here for years because we’ve traveled a lot of life together in this short year.
As difficult year as it has been, it has been equally good, and what a beautiful thing to be able to say. While the blooming of the crepe myrtles may not always remind me of my ordination, this year as they begin to blossom, I’m taking time to give thanks for this first year of ordained ministry. As they bloom, I’m taking time to remember to let my vocational roots sink deep and to let my ministry flourish; there will, no doubt, be seasons of bloom and seasons of lying fallow. And as I mark this first year, I am delighting in the phrase that I said with prayerful confidence in response to Bishop Mayer’s examination just one year ago today: I believe I am so called.