Change is in the air

As we settle into the routines of school, change is settling in on branch and leaf. Breezes blow, and the slant of shadows speaks to the coming dark. I love autumn, the cooler temperatures and the smell of moist earth. I come alive as the temperatures drop, although after a mere twenty-four years in this county I have almost acclimated to our searing summer temperatures. The rain cannot come soon enough, as the dirt road along our fence sends up billows of dust whenever cars drive by, and the pond down the hill is showing signs of longing.

   photo credit: Isaiah Eyre, wedding photographer extraordinaire

But change is more than a weather pattern. With a son newly married, the fabric of our family has changed. It feels shrunk down as my ready to dance boy has become a fine man, living on his own with the woman of his dreams. He takes with him a volume of noise unmatched by any others on this little hillside, and our house feels bittersweetly larger in his absence. But we also feel expanded to include this beautiful, eyes sparkling woman who loves my son with a passion that inspires me and makes me laugh with joy. She loves adventure, she works hard, and she brings beauty with her wherever she goes.  Like a tailored suit, made just for us, she fits into our inner circle with an ease and grace that feels perfect.

Change never seems to come single file, and at church we must come to grips with the fact that our rector is retiring.  This fantastic man who met us in hospital halls to pray for Mom, even though the weird smells and the aura of disease were unpleasant for him.  He carried the Eucharist to her bedside, and he made me promise that I would call him, no matter the time, when Mom's time on earth was done.  He met us where we were, disaffected Baptists, and brought with him the Book of Common Prayer, the wine and the wafer, the liturgy of our childhoods.  And now we have returned to those roots, to what many see as a denomination fallen away from the truth.  I see our church differently, though.  It is a place where we can be without words and still pray prayers that have stood the test of time, a place where the sermon shares equal time with the Eucharist, where confession and the passing of the peace bond us together.  We have a community that exhibits grace and an eagerness to grow in their faith. 

 A few weeks ago Claire was baptized and we stood in front of our congregation as these words were read:

Will you who witness these vows do all in your
power to support Claire in her life in Christ?

And we all boldly responded "We will!"

Claire responded to questions with a quiver in her voice, and our rector's voice broke as he continued the liturgy.  It was a tender ceremony.  Not only was Claire surrounded by all her siblings, her new sister-in-law, and her dear friends, she was embraced into a community of faith.  She knows that these are her people, that she is part of the membership.  

Over the last eighteen months, I have thought a lot about how hard it can be to be a young person at this time in our history.  The stress feels very different, the isolation and pressure and uncertainty seems much deeper. That Sunday in church, gratitude welled up inside of me as I realized that my daughter belongs to these faithful people.  Times are changing, a new rector will be here November 1st, but she is a part of the family.  At some point she may be called to go it alone, to wander in the wilderness, but she knows she belongs to the membership and that they belong to her.

And we know that, too, which helps us as we fidget in the changing confines of our world.  We are not alone.