These wandering tales and postings as a Companion have followed me through the gospel.
Through Advent, in joyful expectation and the coming of the light.
Birth has carried to term transformation; a new miracle.
From three gifts and great kings; winter.
From the desert, over forty days and forty nights, to Jerusalem.
Finally, finally, we have ascended to the city of the people of God.
Into the streets and roads, to a hilltop, carrying the cross after the long fast.
Before Friday has come and gone, flesh and blood from the One; I am not worthy, please wash my hands and my head too.
We have observed and wailed into the night.
We have carried to the tomb gifts of preparation.
Unknowing: He was not there.
He is not here?
We have not been believed, yet have seen.
He has risen!
We have walked the road and broken the bread.
He has appeared.
Have we yet seen the way, the truth, and the life?
Today is the Companions Assistant Coordinator’s last day. I am a bit saddened to see her go, but I am just as eager for the next. Every ending has a new beginning. As I was reflecting with her this morning during our last meeting, I came to the convent expecting answers. Expecting renewal and the knowledge to go forward into whatever the future holds. In some ways, seeking a spiritual experience and feeling and maintaining it, but the Trinity has had a heck of a time telling me I am wrong. My time is not yet over, and it will continue, for I am returning as a Companion for a second term in September.
Over and over I have been humbled in my youth and pride. I have learned that being a follower on the Way and being Anglican is not subjected to the places or people I have been there with. It is not exclusive to conservative or liberal or from Alberta or Ontario. It is not about being from a prayer book congregation (even with its flaws, I will hold it close) or one without all the smells and bells. It isn’t even about living in a convent and praying the Divine Office and participating in thanksgiving in the Eucharist almost daily. Home, as I will continue to learn, is where I am. Home comes from the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. This liturgy has carried me through death and resurrection. Through anger at the people and places I have come from. Through joy and heartache at being away from those people and places; who am I without them?
In Lent, I have dwelt in the desert for forty long nights. In Holy Week, I have walked through Jerusalem and the hectic chapel preparations. Our vigil began before dawn on the third day, and it was the night that gave us back what we had lost. The night turned to day, and even though my week-long cold tried to persevere in my exhaustion, conversion still happened anyway.
Liturgy has brought me once again to conversion. It has once again brought me from the hospital room to these halls and chapel choir stalls. It has been, for me, the turning and the returning. Here, right in the middle, in expectation of eternity, that home has suddenly found me. Death and resurrection, just where I am. Praying, when all else has led me to ruin. Sometimes aesthetic needs to turn into ascetic. Maybe, more than sometimes, the desert dwellers have something to tell us. Sometimes this liturgy is not about empty pews and dusty tomes. Sometimes, maybe even all of the time, it might just be worthy of changing your life, and if you let it in, you might just have a life you believe is worth breathing for.
Alleluia, the Lord is risen indeed. Amen.
Kelsea Willis, SSJD Companion