As a bi-vocational priest, it sometimes seems like opportunities to act in the "official" capacity are few and far between. Yet, when those opportunities arise, there is a joy that bubbles up inside me that cannot be described other than to say, I feel blessed. The month of October brought me two weddings this year, both of which took place outdoors. One was held in the White Mountains on a rainy day in the woods; the other, just a week later, took place at the foot of the Superstition Mountains in the center of a labyrinth. While one of these weddings was completely secular, the other included references to the Divine; yet both couples held Handfasting Ribbons and bound one another to promises. Both ceremonies were glorious. Both couples look forward to long, happy relationships. I am thrilled to have been a part of their big days.
I am preparing to print out a brochure with descriptions and pricing for services I provide in the capacity of priest. It's a little discomfiting, to think of these things from a business perspective. I am a person who deals in human compassion, empathy, and love. You really cannot put a price tag on these things. However, one must also make a living, and our time and effort are worth something. The "day job" provides income and insurance, but being in a social services position is not particularly financially lucrative. It's taken me a long time to bring myself to being able to set a cost to the ministerial services I provide. Now that I've done it, I've procrastinated on printing it out. By rights, it should have been delivered to the local wedding venues and other places before this "snowbird" season in the Southwest began last month. This is how I sabotage myself, isn't it. One of a million ways...
Brigid in the Desert hosted an in-person gathering every month for the first 2/3 of this year. When there were two or more of us sitting together at a table in discussion, it was awesome. Unfortunately, we are a small group of individuals with a variety of challenges. Toward the end of summer, some of our physical challenges made it difficult to meet in person. Instead, we have been chatting on the Facebook page and in the Facebook group, Brigid in the Desert Discussions. We have talked about everything from pain and spiritual experience to our interactions with those who have crossed beyond the veil from this world into the next. We are a diverse, fun, and hopeful group. Feel free to join us!
Now it's November. The Wheel of the Year has taken us past Samhain and the beginning of new life after the death of summer. We head into a time of deliberate thanksgiving, at least here in the United States, as well as a conversation around the meaning of that "First Thanksgiving" and our relationships with the Indigenous people of this land. There is much to wrestle with.
The nights are darkening earlier and we notice a chill in the air, even here in the Sonoran Desert. In the mountains and across the northern parts of the globe, the scent of ice and snow reinvigorates our senses and reminds us of cozy childhood evenings and Yuletide dreams. No matter our religious or spiritual heritage, there are memories of gifts and light and new hope that is born at the end of the calendar year. The Wheel turns. We grow older. Sometimes we forget the power of that innocent hope. At this time of year, we can be reminded of it; it can be reborn in us, if we let it.
If there is anything Americans -- and many others around the world -- can use right now, it's a newborn hope. Let's let it be born in us!
Let us birth a new hope.