I didn’t exactly think that I would be writing again so soon, but I’ve been thinking of you all and it’s a little bit of a sleepy Saturday – a great time to write!
This morning began with avocado toast and a walk on the beach. It’s chilly here, but there’s something so satisfying about putting on layers and slipping on my Extra-Tuffs and hitting the beach. The cold smell of the ocean is refreshing in the morning, and the receding tide always leaves a trail of treasures to explore as you walk along the beachfront – crab shells, sea glass, bits of pottery, seaweed, clusters of pebbles and rocks that somehow found their way to the ocean.
I spent the next few hours attending a free still-life drawing session at a new art studio close to where I’m staying, followed by homemade brunch with a friend. I’ve got to say, the opportunities for community drawing (often for free or very low cost) has already been such a treat. The gal who started the studio (it’s called the Color Wheel) is really great – we met for lunch this past week and had such a blast talking about art, France, studio space, and geeking out about the delights of good quality ink and drawing in conte crayon.
So what’s new with me? Well, I’ve got a couple of French clients now and I’m scheduled to teach an art class or two in December. And you guys!! My friend and I found a house to rent! It’s this cool little place up in one of the neighborhoods that is nestled right into the slope of the mountains – it has a garden, and a lovely deck that we share with our landlord’s family, and an arctic kiwi vine that grows up over the windows of the mud room. I can make kiwi berry jam in the summer, and try to develop a green thumb! It was originally built as a little miner’s shack in the 1900’s, so there’s some cool built-in elements to the place. I cannot WAIT to get some art up on the walls and lights and really make the place feel like home.
And of course, how could I forget the Bishop’s ordination! The diocese of Southeast Alaska has a brand new Bishop as of last Tuesday. I was lucky enough to get to town in time to play cello for Vespers (evening prayer) on Monday night and the ordination Mass the following day, so my first week was full of rehearsals and prayer and potlucks and meeting all kinds of new people.
The ordination Mass was beautiful, and even though it was busy, I am so glad that I was able to be a part of such a joyful and important celebration for the diocese. Juneau is a special place for many reasons, but there’s a really interesting mix of people here, which was really reflected at the Bishop’s welcoming event. Members of the Alaskan Native, Filipino, Mexican, and Samoan communities were all present to welcome him and celebrate Mass with us, in addition to various members and leaders of other religious denominations. I got to watch all of it from my spot in the choir, and it really gave the whole celebration a beautiful perspective for me. I love playing cello for the liturgy and serving the Church in that way, and for this particular occasion it was a way for me to see and to serve my new community which is to be my home for quite some time.
When you have moments like that, where you feel that there’s a certain significance to your life, it’s important to pay attention and reflect. Sometimes you can feel in a moment that something is making a profound impression on you, even if the meaning of it alludes you at the time. For me, I had been really struggling with a fear of lacking a place among these people, of not belonging. We desire to authentically give of ourselves, and I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to give of myself and my skills in the way that I came here to give. Playing cello at Mass, helping to contribute beauty to the celebration of my church, was a reassurance beyond what I was even hoping for. I knew then that there was something for me to give, that there was work for me to do here. It’s amazing how God will answer questions we can’t even fully articulate to our own selves. It’s like when the sun splashes unexpectedly onto your face after days of rain – it’s almost like you’ve forgotten until that moment how the world looks when it’s bathed in sunlight.
I apologize for the string of somewhat random musings – I’d be lying if I said that it wouldn’t happen again, but I process things externally, so this will most likely happen often. Luckily for me if you’re here it probably means that you already know this about me and are accustomed to it. 🙂
Go have a great day, friends. See you when I see you!