Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Heart and Hale

The Vicar of H Street has been much more about the Vicar and less about H Street lately, although there's been plenty of news to reflect upon: the victory (for now) for the community garden on Wylie Street, the Murry's and H Street Storage will likely be gone by summer, and the DC primary election is just days away. Soon I'll be back and blogging about neighborhood issues, and working to be not so caught up in myself. The last few weeks have been the chaos of travel and preparation for my ordination to the priesthood tomorrow evening at St. Thomas's Dupont Circle, and far, far too much about me. I'm finding that I'm feeling very much about my priestly ordination as I did about my wedding: I know it's a big deal, but this sort of attention is overwhelming in the most wonderful kind of way, but I'm just ready to be married/ordained, thank you.

As you might imagine, I've found myself reflecting on vocation lately, but oddly enough, the person who has helped me think most fruitfully about vocation in the last few weeks wasn't a monk, a priest, or a bishop, but rather a friend from my life before seminary. This friend left a job that was slowly killing her and was brave enough to start over in something entirely new: organic farming and animal husbandry. I visited her at her farmhouse after my silent retreat, and my time there was all joy. Catching up, being fed wonderfully delicious food she had raised herself, and seeing her happy, healthy, relaxed, and somehow more herself than I had ever seen her. As she showed me around the farm where she works, it was clear to me that she was becoming part of the community, and whole.

"Health" and "whole" are etymological cousins dating back to Middle English, and this doesn't surprise me. They share an ancestor in "hal" (now "hale") which meant both wholeness and health. Incidentally, "hale" is also related to "holy." My friend, in the intervening year and a half since she's left DC, has been slowly becoming hale. It seems like sheer grace, redemption by mud and chicken scratch.

And it makes me wonder about those who haven't (not even beginning to think about those who can't for socio-economic reasons) been able to find what makes them hale. My hope is that if you seek it, you find it, and that if you find it, you have the courage to follow it. I wish that for myself, too.

Sheep at the Farm School, MA - March 17, 2014

Draft Horse at the Farm School, MA - March 17, 2014

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