Monday, June 11, 2012

not dead

No, I'm not.  In case you were wondering.

on the road to Fonds Parisien last week
My mother sent a concerned note about my lack of blog posts.  Yes, I was sick. No, I am fine now. Yes, very very busy weeks, visitors, travel for the bishop's installation and for several patronal festivals, deaths and a baptism, and power mostly at night when I have been too tired to write after Compline.  


Life is full; life is good. 

And my time here - this stretch - is growing shorter by the minute.  I'll be home at least for a while this summer. After that? TBD. 

on the road again...

Meanwhile, there's a lot to be done, and much of that arrives unannounced.  No sense making plans without the knowledge that something else is just as likely to happen.  That's just the way it works.  It's sort of like travel time.  I'm such an American - I keep asking how long it will take to get someplace.  The real response, in essence, is "we'll arrive when we get there."  I am growing in the ability to go with the flow and to let go of my need to know what's going on.

It will be

arbres flamboyants (flaming trees) are flowering this month - beautiful to look at while you're sitting in an afternoon traffic jam on Avenue John Brown

This weekend I think not knowing was probably helpful.  I didn't put it together until it was nearly time to leave Saturday that I was going to be hearing the first confessions of many of the children to be confirmed Sunday.  Hadn't ever heard a confession - much less in French or Creole.  Jumping right in was most likely the best way to do it.  I ended up enjoying praying with and for them. I'm not sure that asking them what they wanted to say to God exactly counts as standard procedure, but it worked to begin the conversation - and we got to pray in thanksgiving and petition as well that way. 

And you should be proud of me.  In the middle of a conversation with one child, a HUGE spider ran out from under the bench right next to me and off towards the altar at high speed and I didn't even yelp.  It might have been a tarantula; I'm not sure.  Since I was trying to listen intently and since it was running away from me rather than towards me, I didn't dare move my head to look.  The legs were certainly at similar angles rather than nearly flat to the ground.   By the time that conversation and prayer time was over, it was long gone.  Trust me, I glanced around between children after that. 

Confirmation - Cathedrale Sainte Trinite
I'm planning plenty of things for this week.  And I'll go with the flow of life, which, as they say, is what happens when you're making other plans.  I am not, however, planning for any large spiders, tarantulas or otherwise, even if they are running in the opposite direction.  

Plenty of adventure without them.


  1. That's fascinating. In Scotland, confession is the one thing you can't do immediately, even after ordination. We are not supposed to hear formal confessions till we have been priested for 5 years. (or maybe ordained 5 years. I forget). I scared the congregation in Rothesay half to death by starting a sermon one day with 'Guess what? Today is the day. At long last, I can hear your confessions!'
    One dear woman took me up on it, knowing it would be my first, and it was just what both of us needed.
    But at least you'd *been* to formal confession lots, right? (somehow, I have never quite managed to find the context for that, unfortunately)

  2. Marian RandallJune 12, 2012

    Wonderful post - thank you, Sarah!
    Love, Mom

  3. HI Sarah, I happened to land on your blog today, and happy I did to say hi! Love You, Brigie

  4. Hi Sarah! I stumbled on your blog glad I did sending love.

  5. K - I think it happens so rarely in the Episcopal Church that there are plenty of people who don't know it exists. Therefore there is little chance of a new priest being asked to do that other than in a few large anglo-catholic parishes, where one assumes there would be someone to do training. SSJE offers seminars for Episcopal priests on hearing confessions, but not since I've actually been ordained (unless it was this year when I'm out of the country). At some point I need to take that.

    Meanwhile, as you said, I have to rely on my own experience making my confession. Not sure what "lots" is, though, and I don't think my recent experiences of the once or twice yearly hourlong conversations with a specific wonderful priest are something I can follow as an exact model!

    My recollection of my first confession at church camp at the age of 11 (optional, obviously) is what I relied on Saturday. I still remember bounding down the hill afterwards, feeling so light. Something about actually saying it out loud and hearing it out loud, I think. It's not as though I thought God wouldn't forgive me if I didn't!

    In any case I wouldn't advise anyone to go make a formal confession to someone who doesn't go themselves at least once in a while.

    And, that said, I wouldn't have gone at all between the age of 11 and 34 had I not gone on a RC retreat in high school and rediscovered it as part of that particular context.

    Have you read Martin Smith's book on confession for Episcopalians? I think it's called Reconciliation. Very good book.