Today marks the beginning of an adventure for me, and of course for the whole family. It is currently 5:25am and for once, I haven't been woken up by a certain small wriggly person shouting for my attention. At this precise moment in time, he is around 30 miles away and probably tormenting his Daddy while I'm on the last day of my pre-ordination retreat at a gorgeous place called Shallowford House. We've spent the last twenty-four hours in silence (those of you who know me well, stop laughing, I have stuck to it!) and it's been amazingly freeing. In fact, it's really quite amazing how easy it is to pray when all the noise of modern life just......stops. No TV, no talking (not even over meals - there's been some hilarious attempts at sign language for "pass the salt please"!) and despite the occasional fit of giggles, it's been so quiet here. When you stop talking and sit still, there's room and space to hear the birds...and God.
And the reason for all this rather odd behaviour? Well, as I said this has been my pre-ordination retreat and this evening, starting at 6pm in Lichfield Cathedral, I will join 21 other amazing people of all ages and backgrounds to be ordained as Deacons in the Church of England. This moment is the culmination of a very, very long period of discernment (twelve years in my case!) and the end of an incredibly intense period of academic study (three years commuting to college and more essays than I want to remember). This evening, all of that hard work, patience, prayer, waiting, testing and questioning will be confirmed as the Bishop will place his hands on my head and ask God to, "Send down your Holy Spirit on your servant (name) for for the office and work of a Deacon in your church..."
Then, the next "great adventure" will begin (a beautiful phrase borrowed from a friend, thanks Liz). From tomorrow morning, I will begin serving my curacy with the parishes of Shifnal, Sherrifhales and Tong and working under the tutelage of their fabulous Vicar, Rev. Chris.
I am so excited - I feel like a child on Christmas Day or a bride on her wedding day and I keep wanting to dance around and shout, "it's today! it's today!" but I guess the other FAR more sensible ordinands who are sleeping in rooms around me probably wouldn't appreciate it if I did!
So for now, a brief note to say thank you to my amazing husband for supporting me completely on this crazy, stressful, difficult and long journey. For being willing to wave goodbye as I left for college yet again, taking Adam with me, and knowing he wouldn't see either of us for three days a week, every week for three years. For walking with me, holding me up and wiping away the tears when it all felt too much. Thank you Chris.
Before I get too gushy and start doing the celebrity at the oscars act and thanking everyone from my cat onwards, I will sign off. But to those who have walked with me on this journey - you know who you are - thank you. For those who will welcome us into your churches (including my adorable often very noisy little boy), thank you. Please pray for me and for my family, especially tonight but continuing as we start this next phase in our lives. And if you want to, feel free to come visit me in our three parishes, I'll probably be found lurking there most of the time from now on!
It's today! It's today! #givinginanddoingalittledance
Over and out.