Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hello, my name is...Sarah

Thanks to everyone who commented to me in various forms about my friend Todd's death. The memorial service and the whole weekend in Madison were a blessed time of reconnection with old friends, family (my little brother's family lives there) and most importantly, of honoring Todd.

For the last 10 weeks, I've been writing the Monday reflection in our church's "Summer of scripture" blog. This past Monday, I reflected on one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, Romans 8, and realized all the changes that have happened in the past few weeks. I wrote...In the past week and a half, I've been to the funeral of one friend and the baptism of my godson Adam. My little sister had a baby. My great uncle died. Another friend had cancer surgery. Another friend saw her lima bean-sized child on the ultrasound for the first time. It's been a week packed with endings and beginnings.

Absorbing all this - even the good stuff - takes its toll. Oh, and I forgot to mention that my housemate moved out too. Wah. :(

It makes me think about relationships, identity and role. I am called pastor, sister, friend, housemate, godmother, aunt, daughter. But when it comes right down to it, I'm just Sarah.

Two weekends in a row I was in a church service for an important ritual: memorial service one week, baptism the next. Both of these are events where I am used to fulfilling the role of Pastor. I was nervous going to the Memorial Service because I was just going to have to sit with my own grief - not worry about others. I was not Pastor. I was just Sarah.

The baptism took place at a Church where I used to serve as a vicar. I probably said 10 times, in response to people calling me pastor Sarah, you can just call me Sarah - or if you have to call me something, call me godmother! I was thrilled to take on that role. (The photo is from the baptism).

In response to Todd's death, a former professor got in touch. He signed off "Paul" but I responded: "Dear Prof C..." The Bishop is coming to preach at Prince of Peace this weekend. He has told me to call him by his first name, Dick. But I have such a hard time with it. I always want to call him Bishop. My godfather was, for all practical purposes, known as the Judge. He also had a first name, but his role became his name. I have to think hard to remember his real first name.

I like to be called pastor when I am serving as a pastor. But these past days it's been good to remember what it's also like to be called plain old Sarah.

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