The Last Man on the Plan(et)

“Do I have to go?” I plaintively ask.

“Yes,” Colleen, my life coach, says. “You have to give him a chance.”

“Him” is “Don” — the last man on my six man plan with DCSingles.

My matchmaker, Kelly gives me a heads up.

“He didn’t go to college.”

“That’s okay,” I say. “I like a man who works with his hands.”

“For politics he checked ‘other'”.

“‘Other’ indicates an open mind,” I opine.

“But just beware,” Kelly warns me. “He’s just a tad overly enthusiastic.”

“Okay, what the hey! I am game.”

Bring him on!

First phone call, Don describes in great detail his bout with the flu. So totally whoa is he, his world is just a nose blow away from coming to an end. Recovering in his recliner, he binge watches game shows in his basement.

(Hmmmm, not exactly intellectually curious, is he? But I do confess I have a Hulu binge habit myself.)

And so whiny. Why are men so whiny when they are sick? A doctor’s daughter, I have zero desire to play nursemaid to this guy.

Second phone call goes to message. I call him back. Not there to answer, his recording plays: Big Bad John possibly from an old eight track tape.

Sort of humorous, right?

Feeling better, his voice brighter, he asks me out to brunch. Maybe a walk in the city?

That’s better, right?

Okay. Sunday next. 2:00 PM, we will meet in the middle at the Eastern Market LPQ.

Saturday I text: “I’ll be wearing red glasses. And my hand is decorated! Will explain tomorrow.” Against the rules, I send him my red spectacled, right handed henna selfie — so he will recognize me.

“Such pretty red nails,” he texts back. “All the better to scratch my back” to which I have no response.

The Last Man on Earth movie poster

Creepy, right?

Unsolicited he sends me his: a framed photo of half a dozen clowns.

“Hysterical! Will you be the one with the red rubber nose?” I kid him, thinking this is a joke.

“Would you like me to wear my clown suit?

OMG, he is serious.  This clown really is a real live clown!

“Uh, no,” I reply.

“Funny, right? I am funny, right?”

“Uh, no. Not funny,” I reply silently to myself.

Weird, but harmless. Right?

guess I will still go. So I text simply: “See you at two at LPQ.”

But then it gets weirder still.

Out of the blue, a late night text: “Take a bubble bath. Have a glass of wine. Put on your PJ’s. Relax.”

Ew, right?

I make an emergency call to my life coach, Colleen. She puts me on speaker phone along with housemate and assistant coach Katie.

“Hmmmm, yes, that does sound inappropriate,” the two concur.  “But maybe just out of practice? You should give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s just brunch, right?”

“Okay, I’ll go.”

So today, up at sunrise, Sunday came. After a Holy Eucharist or two, I plopped myself down in the rector’s office: exhausted, hungry, and caffeine deprived. I was feeling nothing but dread for the date ahead.

Chuck, my colleague, listened to my litany of complaints: “He’s whiny. He’s goofy. A bit creepy. And quite literally, he’s a clown.”

“Hmmmm,” Chuck says. “Sounds like you don’t want to go.”

“NOOOOOOO, I don’t want to go.”

“Listen to your gut,” Chuck says.

“YES, my gut screams NO.”

Sorry, Don,

Last Man on the Plan,

I text:

“I am canceling.

I can’t go out with you.”

And even if Don were the Last Man on the Plan(et), I still would not want to go.

I far prefer my own company and conversation, the comforts of my sacred space and the singular luxury of the time I call my own.

It’s really quite splendid, you see.

But I am still quite open to find just the right man who might like to share this with me.

So stay tuned to S&TSV! Maybe crowd sourcing next? We’ll see!

Singularly  yours:

The Rev: Joani

 

Four Weddings & a Christening

img_0340

Hatch. Match. Dispatch.

Twenty-two years, I have been in the baptizing, marrying, and burying business.

Ordained an Episcopal priest in 1994, I have long lost count of how many people I have sprinkled, laid to rest, or joined in Holy Matrimony. It is a rare privilege to be with people at such junctures – both the most joyous and the most grief filled times in their lives.

Married, myself, most happily for twenty-eight years, and happily divorced for thirteen, wedding bells do not in the least bit tempt me. I would much rather wear cassock and surplice than a wedding gown at a wedding, any day.

Three weeks ago, a picture of priestly me doing just this – presiding at someone else’s wedding – showed up in the Sunday morning Washington Post! Where? In the LOVE section, of course, on page E14. A total surprise to me!

At Saint Paul’s Memorial, in Charlottesville, Virginia, there I am vested and standing at the altar between Andrew and Kelly: in the photo beneath the fold.

I LOVE presiding over LOVE.

Andrew and Kelly’s ceremony, though large, was intimate, lovely, and tender. Having written their own vows and being close friends of my daughter Colleen, it felt very personal to me.

And personal is that mystical and magical word that describes the most meaningful weddings I have done – regardless of the number of bridesmaids, or guests, or dinner courses at the reception. Weddings with a personal and intimate touch are the ones that I cherish.

Sarah and Nate’s wedding, Valentine’s Day a year ago was a parish wedding.  Together with my rocking colleague, Chuck, we celebrated the “SOHO” marriage, at a lovely little Virginia golf club.  So many Emmanuel friends were gathered round the tables, it felt like family.

At least, the way I think family weddings should feel:

The way, very much, my brother. Joseph and his partner, John’s wedding felt three brief weeks ago. Quite a love story, Joseph and John reconnected on Facebook after having dated way back in the ‘70’s and again in the 80’s.

Deeply touched, I was invited to officiate. They set the date for June 3rd, 2017 – what would have been our Mary Lou and Bernard’s – our parents’ — 66th wedding anniversary.

But then November 8th happened. The election results bode the possibility that newly won LGBTQ rights to marry might be overturned. So on December 18th, in Hyattsville, Maryland, in my baby brother’s dining room, in his adorable little house, I joined Joseph and his beloved partner John in Holy Matrimony.

Just seven (a very biblical number!) people in attendance, it is just about the loveliest wedding I have been a part of — so far.

And now, my own firstborn son, Zachariah, over Thanksgiving, proposed to his seven-year beloved, Jen. (Again, a biblical number!) The date has been set for the Saturday after Thanksgiving next.

It too, will be a very small and intimate affair, maybe on a boat at sunset, somewhere on the water. Defying tradition, it will still be a sacred occasion but of a more secular kind.

Zach is an atheist who does not darken the door of a church (though he is very proud of his mom!)

Home over Christmas, I ask him gingerly,

“So, Zach, what kind of ceremony are you going to have?”

 And I get a most unexpected answer:

“Well, mom, we were wondering if you could do it. But with two conditions.”

 Knowing him well, I blurt out,

“No mention of God, right? YES! I can say whatever you want me to say!”

 “And the second condition, mom, is can you do it without crying?”

 “Whoa! That will be really hard. But, YES, YES, of course, I can!”

 And now, of course, I am crying like a baby; happy, crazy tears.

So, by my count, that is four weddings. And this week, I have a Christening.

Misty eyed, I am jumping on an Amtrak train to New York City, to baptize my first great-niece – little Virginia – firstborn daughter of my niece, Lauren and her husband, Gordon; firstborn granddaughter of my brother, Tim and his wife, Martha.

I LOVE presiding over LOVE.

The love of these four weddings and this Christening blesses me. It blesses all who share in the celebration. It blesses all the souls connected by these sacred (and sometimes secular) rituals.

Be it in good times or bad times. Be it in hello times or goodbye times. In all the ups and downs, of this mystical magical thing we call life, such love can bless us all.

At little Virginia’s baptism, we will read the same sacred scripture that was read at her parents’ wedding: good old First Corinthians 13 – read at thousands of weddings for hundreds of years.

And though, I have heard it a million times, I pray, I never tire of hearing it or reading it.

God bless you, Saint Paul.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 Faith, hope, and love abide. And the greatest of these is love.

Yes, the greatest of these is love.

 

Singularly yours:

The Rev: Joani

The Pseudo-Librarian, the Priest & Her Wardrobe

img_12891963. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Brown courdouroy smocked dress and white puffy blouse. Navy blue polka dot shift and  striped Danskins.  Parochial school uniform and Peter Pan collars.  Mary Janes, saddle shoes, and Keds.

1973. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Peasant dresses, halter tops, and army jacket. Denim cutoffs, bellbottom pants, and macrame belts. Parochial school uniform and Oxford cloth shirts. Platforms, flip flops, and saddle shoes.

1983. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Pleated skirts and cardigan sweaters. Padded shoulders and tailored slacks. Designer jeans, and tasteful flats.

1993. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Khaki trousers, corduroy jumpers, and denim overalls.  Cotton turtlenecks, kilts and tights. Embroidered vests and cable knit sweaters. Black flats, brown flats, and tennis shoes.

2003. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Target basics and Talbot’s work clothes. Cotton sweats and running suits. Clergy shirts and clerical collars. Random flats, Birkenstocks, and flip flops  — in every color under the sun.

And thirteen years on.

2016. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Funky tunics and interesting tops. Comfy leggings and skinny jeans. Prints, patterns, and primary colors. Autumn hues and basic black. Dressy dresses and dresses just for fun. Lululemon trousers and button down shirts. Bits of ribbon and bits of lace. TOMS, saddle shoes, ASICS, and a multitude of multicolored flats.

I have both lost and found myself in my wardrobe.

Middle child, parochial school girl, head of the class.

Flower child, high school nerd, and rebel without a cause.

Computer programmer, working mom, sometimes a wife.

Seminary student, kindergarten volunteer, and Del Ray mom.

Parish priest, divorcee, and mostly manic.

Half marathoner, storyteller, blogger, irreverent reverend, and pseudo-libarian.

I have lost and found myself in my wardrobe.

Clothes are the window dressing of the soul. Spiritual expressions of our psyches and personalities. Creative expressions of our passions and our moods.

In my darker days, my wardrobe was all solid colors. No prints. Basic and boring. I would buy three colors of the same pants and the same sweater.

All the better to hide in. All the better to disappear.

Those dark days are long — and hopefully forever — gone.

How do I know?

Because my wardrobe therapist tells me so.

My therapeutic fashion consultant, Stephanie Hernandez, helped me work through my closet issues.

Stephie is a very good friend of my awesome daughter Colleen. Stephie is a young LCSW with a passion for style and an entrepreneurial spirit. She’s the founder of  “Look Good, Feel Good”— “a therapeutic approach to finding your personal style.”

A brilliant idea! This bipolar soul signed herself up right away!

Personable, warm, and observant, Stephie first sat down on my couch and we had a chat. I walked her through a “regular day” so she could learn about my bipolar life — both at work and at play. I gave her a one minute tour of my condo and then we took a thirty minute walk through my wardrobe.

And then for the next half hour, we played dress up. Mixing and matching funky and flattering combos, Stephie helped me come up with outfits that  I can wear just about anywhere:  @LOC, @EEC,  walking Del Ray, or strolling DC.

Working with Stephie made me feel so much cooler and so much cuter than I actually am!

It was very therapeutic.

It was so much fun.

“Look Good, Feel Good Style”

It’s not just a catchy slogan, it’s fashion philosophy.

I recommend Stephanie Hernandez and her new enterprise most happily!

So friends, what’s in your wardrobe?

Singularly yours:

The Rev: Joani

Note: Also posted on Unorthodox & Unhinged: Tales of a Manic Christian