I performed my first solo ministry service this morning in our early AM mass in the small chapel of our massive stone cathedral. I love the intimacy of the chapel with its small stained glass windows and small but simple granite altar. This locale was perfect for the 20 or so who attended. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement but I had prayed, meditated and hoped that I would be able to do this service. All of my mentors had assured me that I was ready for this next step in my theological growth. I have been learning, listening and following every piece of advice that I have been given. Still, solo is solo and one has to jump at some point.
Every soul in that room touched mine and I was so overwhelmed that after I greeted the attendees after the service, I walked to the back of the nave of the cathedral, stood under the massive organ and just wept. How is it that I am so fortunate to be able to connect with these wonderful human beings in such a spiritual manner? I want to always have the openness of heart to allow humanity in. I have to connect; I know nothing else and my heart is glad for this.
Following the service, I stayed for the huge main service as the graduates of my theological school were honored and received their diplomas today. Such is the joy of being witness to extraordinary people who have worked very hard. I will be so fortunate to survive let alone think of graduation three years in the future. I have much to learn and experience but it can be done by humans.
I ran seven miles along the lake on a day that was perfect in temperature and humidity. Yesterday’s heat (90F) and humidity caused me to “hurl” at the end of a six mile slow run suffering from the nausea of early heat exhaustion and a bit of dehydration thrown in. I lost more than eight pounds of fluid on yesterday’s run but today’s was perfect. Each step was pure heaven in the cooler temperature. For the first time, I ran without a shirt enjoying the cool breeze on my skin.
I headed to the airport to get some flight hours in. I fueled the Cessna and filed a flight plan that would take me over the lake for some time alone with my thoughts and my plane. The cloudless blue sky along with the deep turquoise of the water was more that my soul could hope. I needed to be with my thoughts and prayers of gratitude for all that I have been given. I didn’t have a specific destination-didn’t need one, but needed to be alone with God and the sky. The views are intoxicating this time of the year with a few boats dotting the water as I flew far from the shores.
I am no longer the same person that I was even three weeks ago. I have been halfway around the world and found myself by being in the presence of my brothers and sisters who have dedicated their lives to their god. I am a different sort of healer now; connecting with spirit in a way that is different yet quite familiar. In medicine, I have always been quite aware of the deep relationship that my profession has afforded me with my patients. Now, I have an added dimension to those relationships with my ministry. With this realization, I move deeper inside myself; changed forever. On a day like today, I just need to be alone.