Yesterday, I had an unexpected treat.
Thanks to this very blog, I was invited to go and talk with the students at one of our local Catholic girls’ high schools about women in ministry. I didn’t know anyone there–apparently one of the theology teachers uses Lent Madness in class and discovered my blog thusly. (Ah, the wonders of the intertubez!)
I was so psyched. No kidding–talking to young women about my job is one of my all-time favorite things, because it always feels like I am disclosing one of the secrets of the universe. Yes, you, too, can do this job! And wear these shoes at the same time!
I sat at a small table and girls came up to sit with me to eat lunch if they wanted. Other tables were staffed by nuns, in a variety of habits, another Episcopal priest and a local Muslim activist.
I don’t think I said anything profound. I talked a lot about how the Episcopal Church differed from the Catholic Church (same service, different emphasis in theology, and we really like elections.) I talked about how I had decided to become a priest. (God called me, I pouted, then gave in.) And I talked about why I loved my job (I get to talk about the most important stuff, and I get to bless wine and bread, and then hand people a piece of God.)
But I absolutely loved it, because I know how desperate I was in high school for any glimpse of an adult who was living a life that I wanted. I was lucky–I had known female priests all my life–but at that critical moment, I didn’t have anyone around that made the life I thought I was called to seem within grasp.
The students were delightful and engaged, asking good questions. We cheerfully ate Skittles and cookies all through lunch. And then I headed on back to my normal life with a lovely swag bag. (It’s like I’m famous!!!)
Probably, no one had a conversion moment. But hopefully, the girls saw another option of what adult life could be for them.
“Probably, no one had a conversion moment.” Maybe. But maybe one of those girls is still pouting. So maybe in 5, 10, or 30 years one of them will give in, and maybe she’ll understand your talk as a beginning, the first day that it seemed possible.