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Tony Grist

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Behovely [Jan. 11th, 2009|11:58 am]
Tony Grist
I felt a momentary twinge of shame as we were gathering our books together after the service. If I hadn't been so wilfull when my marriage broke up and my faith collapsed- if I hadn't walked away- I could have been a part of this always. In fact I could have been up there at the business end of the church conducting the service this very morning. But , then again, if I had toughed out the crisis I wouldn't have put myself in the way of gaining wisdom- or at least not the kind of wisdom I have now- and I probably wouldn't have met Ailz (though I'm not so sure about that). So- no- I'm not going to apologise for the choices I made- destructive though some of them were.  They brought me to where I am now.  As the Blessed Julian says, "Sin is behovely".

I just looked that word up to make sure it means what I think it means. It does. It means something like "proper and right and befitting our station." (Great word- what a pity it's slipped out of common usage!) We're here in the flesh to learn, and if we didn't sin we wouldn't learn.  When we accept incarnation we accept that we're going to make some bloody awful mistakes- and that this is allowed for in God's economy.  The full quotation- which I know from Eliot (of course) and not from reading the Revelations of Divine Love- is "Sin is behovely, but all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well."

I was a lousy priest.  Perhaps that's harsh- but I was very young and gauche and I didn't get what it was all about- not at all. The church didn't really lose much when it lost me.

There was a baptism this morning- of a young mother and her baby son.  Baptism is about belonging- and belonging is good. We can't do this job on our own. It's like we're in a caravan making our way across the desert. We keep one another's spirits up as we swing along together. There's strength in numbers.

All through the latter part of the service I had a very strong sense of being surrounded by those numbers- and not just by the  visible community in the pews around me- but by the communion of saints, the companionable spirits, friends, guides, comforters, fellow pilgrims.  I've no doubt that there were very many souls in that building that we couldn't see. No doubt at all.

So how come I never felt that in the past when it was my business to preach it- but I can feel it now?  If I'd have been able to feel it then I'd never have left.  Ah, but then, again- back to where we started- perhaps I was meant to leave.....

[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2009-01-11 03:00 pm (UTC)

I was very young and gauche and I didn't get what it was all about- not at all

You could be talking about me. As a young woman I was under considerable pressure to become a teacher. At that age and through my 30's I would have been a lousy teacher; for most of the same reasons you outline. It took an awful lot of growing up, many wrong turns and much licking of wounds before I achieved the knowledge, tolerance and patience to meet the needs of young adult learners.
It might interest you to know that the Estonian word for priest or minister is öpetaja = teacher.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-11 03:07 pm (UTC)

Re: I was very young and gauche and I didn't get what it was all about- not at all

Certain jobs demand wisdom- which the young mostly don't have.

If the Estonians use the same word for priest and teacher it must affect how they see those two professions. If a clasroom teacher is seen as somehow "priestly" does it mean she gets more respect?
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[User Picture]From: methodius
2009-01-11 03:28 pm (UTC)
You drive down a road into a valley, and in the distance you can see the road ahead, winding up the side of the hill opposite, and then when you get down to the bottom of the hill, hidden among the trees, is another road, and you know that is the one you are meant to take.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-11 04:44 pm (UTC)
What a pleasant way of putting it.

Life is full of surprises. If you'd told me a couple of years ago that I'd be thinking as I am now I would have been totally incredulous.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2009-01-11 03:50 pm (UTC)
Dear me, dear polipholio! You have just given a remarkably Sunday morning homily to me. Thank you. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-11 04:45 pm (UTC)
Once a parson, always a parson :)
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From: sunfell
2009-01-11 03:51 pm (UTC)
You're on the Spiral Path- coming back to where you were, but with another layer of understanding and wisdom to help you discern things.

I'm doing the same thing- returning to my own metaphysical practice and study. Whether or not I'll create another working group remains up in the air- some friends of mine want to start a Lodge. It would have to be a very small and very private Lodge.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-11 04:53 pm (UTC)
Or as Eliot says,

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Maybe it's time for you to start working with others again. I imagine you'll get a sign or two if it is.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2009-01-11 05:21 pm (UTC)
It sounds to me like your life has gone the proper direction for you. It's very behovely. (I'll try using that word a few times and see if it sticks with me!)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-11 05:33 pm (UTC)
I wonder what it takes to get an archaic word back into current usage. The verb "behoves" is still employed, so why not "behovely"?
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2009-01-11 06:15 pm (UTC)
They brought me to where I am now.

Which seems a good place to be.

(And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment.

Great word- what a pity it's slipped out of common usage!

Use it! There's no other way to get words back into the language.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-11 09:08 pm (UTC)
A good place? Yes, it seems to be.

Eliot won't leave me alone. Little Gidding in particular.

Behovely is a valuable word, with no precise modern equivalent.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-01-11 07:01 pm (UTC)
What I find most powerful about this is the sense of the fullness of time in your life: the moment having come, you again go to the church, and it is new to you this way. It must be what had to happen--who knows?--for you to meet Ailz? Among other things--or not--but paths not followed finally don't matter, I think.

What will be next in your life? How interesting that you have set out on this surprising pilgimage-I look forward to seeing what will happen next-
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-11 09:12 pm (UTC)
"I look forward to seeing what will happen next".

So do I. I certainly wasn't expecting this particular development- though now it's happened it seems entirely right.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-01-11 07:59 pm (UTC)
This is an amazing faith-journey testimony. It stirs me deeply. One of my other LJ friends is doing a spiritual "Walk to Rivendell" which is about her continuing faith-journey, which also hits me where I live.
We had no church today. The heavy snowstorm made it impossible for our pastor to come into town from the suburb where he lives. This post of yours more than compensates for missing church today.
Please continue to communicate as you follow your path.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-11 09:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

It makes me happy to know my writing has some use.

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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2009-01-11 08:51 pm (UTC)
Try the Catholics? They're looking ;-))
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-12 10:29 am (UTC)
Catholicism ain't my tradition. And I find it hard to take the papacy the least bit seriously.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2009-01-11 10:20 pm (UTC)
Sometimes you have to leave a place in order to come to understand what it means to you. It sounds to me as though that's what you've done, anyway. Congratulations!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-12 10:31 am (UTC)

I left the church over 20 years ago. It's been a long, long process.
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[User Picture]From: mikesmaddie
2009-01-12 07:06 am (UTC)

My name is...

...Olga. And I'm a friend of aellia's.

From reading your profile, you sound like quite a fascinating person.

And so, I was wondering if it would be all right to add you?

God bless and take care. :).
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[User Picture]From: cataptromancer
2009-01-12 07:27 am (UTC)

Re: My name is...

A remarkably written and though-provoking post, thank you. It's wonderful to think how much wisdom is in that little line of Dame Julian's, and how much thinking it's provoked over the years.
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[User Picture]From: margaretarts
2009-01-12 04:39 pm (UTC)

Thanks so much. You've given me enough for my own post today. Go see (in a few minutes)....
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-12 04:44 pm (UTC)
Splendid. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.
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