The countdown…

On Friday I leave for a two day “retreat” where final interviews for my diocese’s nominees for postulancy will be conducted.

There are three times as many committee members as nominees. I’m pretty freaked out.

Tick… tick… tick… time is ticking away toward Friday at speeds that are somehow impossibly fast and painfully slow at the same time.

The priest who is supervising my internship spent a lot of time with me on Sunday. She was supportive without being unrealistic, and I am very grateful for that. It’s nice to have someone acknowledge that it won’t be easy and that anyone going into this weekend should be somewhat apprehensive – and then reassure me that she knows I can do it. So many people keep telling me “oh, it’s fine, you’ll be fine, don’t worry about it, I don’t know why you are worrying about it.” It’s beginning to make me kind of crazy. It is hard to describe to most people how I can be at once sure of my call and terrified by the idea that I think I could ever be qualified to be a priest. Sometimes I wonder if the committee wasn’t paying attention when they read my file. I have this nightmarish vision of them deciding they made a horrible mistake and dropping me out of the process.

In other news…

I have one of Church by the Creek’s thuribles at home right now (hmm… spell check doesn’t know that word… Can I get a liturgically correct spell checker?) 🙂

For those of you who haven’t had much exposure to Anglo-Catholic high church services, a thurible is the object used to hold charcoal and incense during a service. It is kind of a brass bowl with a pointed lid with holes cut in it. The holes allow the fire to breathe. The thurible hangs on about 3 feet of chains that are attached to a disc with a loop on top. The thurible is swung at various points in the service.

Some Episcopal churches never use incense; some use it only for special occasions. My home congregation is a “don’t even think about using incense here” congregation. My internship congregation uses it at every service. Before coming to CBTC I had never touched a thurible or seen incense up close.

Yesterday after everyone had gone home my supervising priest spent some time teaching me how to use the thurible. I’m not very coordinated; understanding it intellectually and getting my body to actually cooperate are not the same thing. Who knew turning left would be so hard? I did manage to pull off a few sloppy 360’s, but I’m a long way away from being allowed to do them in front of people.

Anyway, I was sent home with the thurible so I can take it outside and practice in the backyard. My neighbors are going to think I’ve lost my mind. I’ll be out there in the backyard, swinging a shiny thing on a chain while walking around and (most likely) muttering to myself.

It seems that this was just the right week to take the thurible home. Something about having it around is comforting. I don’t know why exactly. Somehow it symbolizes how well my internship has gone and what an amazing experience I’ve had there. It sits there reminding me that I can handle all of this. Also, having a skill to learn this week is probably a good thing. It gives me something constructive to do with my nervous energy when I’m home.

It’s after midnight. I think I’m going to take my sleepy, stressed out self and go to bed.

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~ by Sophia on February 7, 2006.

4 Responses to “The countdown…”

  1. I literally laughed out loud at the vision of you with the thurible. The most important thing is to make sure there’s no one behind you.As for the spell checker, I can’t imagine what it would do with our various liturgical terms, especially after I found out what Word does with “prosciutto.”Now, as far as the weekend goes – I’ve never been through one myself (thanks be to God), but someone I know very well has. It isn’t easy, but they’re looking for you to be yourself.Prayers as you take this next step.

  2. I’m with Wes, I love the image of the thurible in the backyard! Frankly, I am always in need of thurible practice myself, I’ll have to try that one day.It sounds like you’ve been prepared very well, so if any of the following is redundant, mea culpa.My .2 on COM–I’ve been through COM and on COM, so I have some experience here. Here’s my advice: take your time answering questions. If you don’t understand a question, feel free to ask for clarification. Don’t add to what people have asked (i.e. don’t answer questions they didn’t ask) and above all, when pushed or challenged, don’t get defensive or angry. (Publicly, anyway). If there’s a poophead on COM (and there usually is), the other memebers of COM probably already know this and take that into account accordingly. Ordained ministry is really, really hard and so the process is really, really hard. I’m not justifying people acting like jerks in the process, but it’s just a preview of what’s to come once the collar is on.(Actually, I had a good time at most of my interviews. But I’ve seen the train wrecks, too.)Prayers and hugs! All manner of thing shall be well.

  3. Oh bother! Wish I’d got here earlier….so remember the ordeal of my (two) selection conferences, and how horribly unprepared I was the first time. (I’d been told to “be as honest as I dared” and this has never been a problem for me…in retrospect, I think they were planning on a more laundered version of most things!)But God worked through both of them, though it didn’t feel much like it at the time (see my blog for gory details)My love and prayers go with you, anyway.And I’m very envious of your opportunity for thurible practice. The first time I ever handled one, I found myself having to swing the thing for real as the celebrant at High Mass for All Saints day. Hmmn. Memorable all round, I’d say!

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