Synecdoche

Everything is starting to feel more and more real as my ticket to Portland is secured, my ordination papers have arrived, and in the next week or so, my wedding wear will be delivered as well. After checking with the bride, I chose a simple white monk’s robe with alb and cinctures (ropes that go around the waist rather than a stole). An alb on the robe means it’s basically a long, Catholic/Anglican hoodie. If you’re not married by someone in a hoodie in Portland, is it really a Portland wedding?

I also chose the clothes of an altar boy (basically) rather than a priest, because though the Church of the Latter Day Dude is legal, I don’t feel like I’m ready to put on my big girl clothes yet. Let’s save the stole and the ministerial robes for later, when I am ordained “Dude CC.” I came up with that. You can use it. Free.

I would have chosen brown over white, but it wouldn’t have matched anything else anyone was wearing, and I wanted to blend in, not stand out… even though a brown hoodie is my synecdoche for the city.

A synecdoche is a device in poetry where you use the part for the whole, like calling a car “wheels.” In this way, the wedding is syndecdoche for what I believe is my whole life’s work. Even if I’m never ordained, I’ve learned more about what I think of scripture by writing to you than most people do in years of schooling…. because then, you learn a lot about what other people think of scripture and it takes another few years to develop your own spin.

I don’t do it without help, though. I have many volumes of William Barclay’s work on my Kindle, as well as John T. Robinson, A.W. Tozer, Paul Tillich, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Most of the books I’ve bought from smile.amazon.com (so that part of my purchase goes to Doctors Without Borders) have been recommended by guests on The RobCast and On Being with Krista Tippett.

What is interesting about Tozer is that he received his first call to serve a church without attending seminary or being ordained. I suppose the tradeoff was that it was in Nutter Fort, WV. There’s nothing wrong with West Virginia- it’s lovely. But when people ask where my church is, the last thing I want to escape my lips is “Nutter Fort.” Although, with my history of bipolar disorder, maybe it would be fitting. At the very least, hilarious.

It wasn’t until 1950 that he even got a degree. He taught himself everything he missed in high school, college, and grad school. It wasn’t until 1950 that he was given a Doctor of Letters from Wheaton College… and he began his ministry in 1919. We don’t believe a lot of the same things, but his story in and of itself is inspiring.

I also look to my father’s mother, who went to college while raising four kids and was invited to stay on as a biology professor, but didn’t want to move away from Lone Star and needed a job closer to home. She became a lab technician at the local hospital, where she jokingly called herself “the blood and tinkle lady.”

I learned this from talking to my grandfather on his birthday, another marathon conversation in which we covered everything from family stories to how we both reacted to Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. He said that he thought it was for younger people.

I’ve been thinking about that one line for days now, especially as I approach my 40th birthday and what I want my second act to become.

More kind, certainly. More loving. More open. Less quick to focus on the J in INFJ. Learning to ask for help before I need it rather than waiting until the absolute last second when I’m about to drown to admit that something might be wrong.

I can only think about what I want my life to look like emotionally, because physically, I am stuck. I am considering everything from high-power IT job to busboy. It doesn’t matter. What matters is being able to write every day, being able to further my work in the world that is only mine.

I think I need someone to look over my resume, because I’ve gotten a few bites, but not enough to actually lead to anything. It’s not fair- I’m too talented to be overlooked, and yet, I am. All the time.

Although I think I will go back to cooking, if only for a short while. I realized that I missed it when I looked at all my water bottle mix-in packages and I’d cut them all on the bias. I was also making pasta the other day and used food-grade scissors to chiffonade turkey and basil.

It was the first time I’d cooked anything in almost a year. I tend to run on sandwiches and snacks, because with Filipino, Indian, and Cameroonian roommates, the kitchen is rarely free. One of my roommates commented that she’d never seen me cook anything and wasn’t sure I knew how. I told her that I’d cooked professionally and she said, “well, you keep saying that, but I’ve never actually seen you do it.” I didn’t say anything. I just made aioli from scratch. I miss my Popeye forearms.

I also miss being able to eat whatever the hell I want because the job is such a workout that you need that level of caloric intake. Because first, there’s the dance with the brigade. Second of all, there’s the sauna that all kitchens are.

It’s like doing Zumba crossed with Bikram yoga for ten or eleven hours at a clip.

How did we get from A.W. Tozer to garlic mayonnaise?

It’s ok. I doubt I can turn water into wine at Bryn’s wedding. But if I do, I will go down in history as the second coolest preacher ever.

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