Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

Feburary 2nd is a very significant day in my spiritual journey. Many years ago I went for my first visit with the Bishop to tell him I felt called to the priesthood. I did not know what to expect. Would he laugh? Toss me out into the streets? My rector at the time--and now my friend--Scott Oxford-- went with me. That way if I got tossed out into the street, the Bishop would toss Scott first and I would have a soft landing spot. Sometimes "ladies first" is not a good idea.

Actually Bishop Johnson's response to sharing my call was kind and very affirming. No one got tossed anywhere. At least not literally. I was, at that point, tossed into the discernment process of the Episcopal Church which at times can make landing on pavement seem like a better choice.

Of course, you already know that I was discerned, educated, ordained and all in all it has been a good journey. All in all.

Okay, you may be wondering what this all has to do with Groundhog Day. Yes, that was the date of my first visit with the Bishop but something happened in a phone call that followed that visit.

I spoke by phone with a friend, former rector and a key person who made me fall in love with Jesus again and with the Episcopal church for the first time--Doug Bailey--and told him it had gone well. He commented, with his trademark enthusiasm,"What an absolutely awesome day to go for a visit to the Bishop!" Of course I agreed with him though I was pretty clueless as to why Groundhog Day would be such an awesome day for the visit.

Was there some secret Episcopal Code that if I saw my shadow I would not be selected to go on through the process but if I didn't see my shadow I got to go straight to seminary? I was a bit puzzled so I tactfully said to Doug, "So Doug, tell me more why you say that?" (See, I was already preparing myself for CPE years later: so tell me do you really feel...). Doug quickly responded (more trademark enthusiasm), "Jeanne,this is the feast day for the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple!"

Oh. Yes. Yes. Of course. I knew that. Actually it was pretty amazing to think about my visit to the Bishop coinciding with this feast day.

And I never, never forget the date of the Presentation (or of Groundhog Day)or of that visit to the Bishop.

I couldn't find a YouTube video of the Presentation but here is a pretty great little film about Groundhog Day.


Tom E said...

Love this story! Thanks for sharing. I had forgotten it was Ground Hog Day.

Mary said...

Ground Hog Day just became even more special! I laughed out loud when you connected whether or not you saw your shadow with whether or not you could proceed to the priesthood!