From the Associate Vicar: Rooted

Published on Wed, 10 Jul 2019 22:17

Dear One’s of St. Columba’s,

Motherhood changes people.  Your role in life is suddenly different.  I have found that I am seen by others differently, I see myself differently, and there are two little people who experience me in a way that no one else ever has.  I am their protector, their safe place, their comforter, their enforcer, and sometimes their adversary.  I have never experienced people needing me in this way or seeing me in this way until I became a mother.

Identity is a hard thing to nail down.  We are constantly changing as people.  Choices and decisions we would make in one decade of our lives are very different than ones we would make in another decade of our lives.  For the most part I find this exciting.  I am always on the edge of my seat to find out who I will be tomorrow.  I have a lot of hopes for the person who I will be in the next decade; as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and as a priest.  

This can be scary as well.  Especially, when we really like the current identity that has been assigned to us because all of these identities will shift and change over time.  That is why I find it so important to find ways to root ourselves outside of these changing identities.  I have done this in my life through my faith and through my family’s history, which are intertwined.  While, I grew up Irish Catholic I like to think that this tradition goes all the way back to the Celts, which has deeply influenced the Episcopal church and of course has a strong tie to this church whose patron saint, Saint Columba, is Celtic.  I once took a pilgrimage to London and The Holy Island of Lindisfarne to get in touch with these deeper roots.

The other place that roots me is the town my husband and I named my son after, Jacksonport, WI.  Jacksonport is where my great-great grandfather settled when he came over from Ireland.  Legend has it that he stopped in Jacksonport because the cliffs in this town reminded him of Ireland.  I grew up going to these cliffs known as Cave Point.  When I went to Ireland and saw the cliffs there - they were familiar, I knew these cliffs already through my great-great grandfather, through Cave Point.  I felt deeply connected to my ancestors who came before me and who possibly felt the same awe and familiar comfort that I was feeling in that moment.

Over my maternity leave I got to spend three weeks in Jacksonport.  My family still has a cabin on my great-great grandfather’s original farm.  The cabin was originally a settler’s cabin, then a sheep’s barn, and now my favorite place.  This place roots me.  As my own parents age, my children grow and change, my wrinkles deepen, and all my identities shift and change this place whispers to me that I am loved, I am strong, and that some things do stand the test of time.  The Celtic tradition and my cabin both root me so that I can better face the unknown future and my changing identities with courage.  Allowing me to be open to how God might show up.  A God who I believe longs for us to be open to change so that we are able to dream big, scary, beautiful, hope-filled, redemptive dreams.  I am excited to be back from maternity leave so that we can continue this journey of finding God among us and dreaming these hope-filled, redemptive dreams together.

with gratitude,


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