Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Standing with Integrity

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church will convene in Indianapolis this summer from July 2 through July 12.  Since 1976, Integrity has made a very significant witness and presence.  Claiming the Promise: Making All Mean ALL is the campaign theme.
A request for volunteers to assist Integrity with its mission at General Convention was sent out in February.  Sarah Riggle was selected as one of the volunteers who will serve at the Integrity booth at General Convention.

This is the notice that was published in our Newsletter for this month letting everyone know of my selection to team of volunteers for the Integrity booth.  When I received the notice by e-mail, I was quite shocked that I was selected out of all the imagined responses they must have received.  In the first place the call for interested persons was to fill out an application, which appeared during the time my mother lay at home under Hospice Care which turned out to be her final weeks.  I do not think that I really completed all the questions on the form and I certainly don't remember sending it in.  I had meant to get 'back' to it at some point but my focus was helping my sister taking care of our mothers and giving her the best quality of life we could.

I feel so honored and privileged to have been selected that it is difficult for me to grasp the awesome impact I could have on those who might be sitting on the fence of the blessing rite for same-sex couples. This will be a very powerful life changing event for me and my existence within the Episcopal Church.  I am gathering my shield and sword of righteousness to stand my watch at the gate of Inclusion to welcome one and all.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day's Remembered

Today is Memorial Day, a day to look at ourselves and our Country’s Servicemen and Women and Remember the lives of those who gave the last measure of service and life to ensure our Country lives on for their children.  All of us who are Veterans look at our Nation’s symbol that still flies over buildings and in our Churches and cemeteries across this great nation and the soil given to us by those distant nations that holds our heroic dead fought so valiantly to seek free.  Our National Flag which we consider to be a living, breathing symbol; we watch our flag in all kinds of weather inhaling and exhaling with every breath of our great land, always standing in the light of righteousness during the light of day by the sun and at night by the electric lights of the cities.
I remembered today many times with my father; with parades, picnics and barbecues.  My father was a mechanic with Patton’s Army as they marched through Europe.  As he served with the Air Force in later years we observed Memorial Day when we were in Japan and later in duty stations across the mid-west. Later during my first tour of duty I observed this Day fighting in the hills of Vietnam.  After I was married I served the military as a musician and would have to play concerts and join community parades that honor America’s Service men and women.  Memorial Day was a special day of honor and reflections, when I was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division Band in Germany and in 1980, our band joined those other free nation’s bands and marching units for West Berlin’s Military Tribute down main street. 
I have visited America’s fallen hero’s in the field of Holland, Denmark and France, I have stood at the foot of George Patton’s grave at Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial and watched a field mouse scurry to safety in the bushes nearby.  
But for all the Memorial Day’s I have seen, this year’s seem to pull at my heart the strongest.  This year I lost my mother and am witnessing a very close father figure struggle with the last days of his life.  I just wanted to say to all the service men and women I have known, served with and loved a simple “thank you” filled with tears and love.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Mother's Gift

These past few week have been very hard, for me at lease, to carry on with our lives.  Even though we took a few day off to attend a wedding of 2 very good friends and then invited ourselves to visit with some other good friends in Summerville; we came back and I was bombarded with all kinds of TV commercials on how to celebrate "Mother's Day".   It has not been a month since we buried our mother and am inundated with TV ads about how to Celebrate her day.

I have yet to have a good bawling, grieving for the loss of a strong, fighter; my mother who kept a lot of my secrets and doted on me more than I realized.  I learned a lot about my mother that most of my sisters had known and told her stories to everyone.  How my mother was such a fighter for her children; for me when the nuns tried to force me to use my right have to write with; I am left-handed.  For my sister who was cheated out on being named Valedictorian for her class.  She confronted those who treated her children wrong and managed to some change school policies in the process.  That was my mother; a fighter.

As my male self, I was reluctant to stand up for myself on occasions.  But as Sarah, I have no problem fighting injustice and peoples attitudes that are just plain wrong.  I am still fight 2 battles with organizations that treat people wrong.  And that's just not right.  This is the gift that she left for me, the permission to stand up for myself and for others.  Thank you Mom!!