The Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta, GA

What is on Your Mind?

An article from the Cathedral Times
by the Reverend Carolynne G. Williams
Canon for Pastoral Care and Elder Ministry

I have a birthday coming up next month and the age I am becoming is a significant number. Because of this, our mail at home has been filled with all sorts of offerings and decision-making reading material, most of which I have thrown directly into the trash. Of course, I did not pay close attention several years ago when this type of mail filled our box addressed to my husband, Perry Sr., when he was having this same birthday. As far as I was concerned, this was one of those crossroads that was far, far in the distance. Now it is on my mind.

There are other transitions in my life that once seemed far off, but are now here. Both of our children have become adults. They live passionately, but not recklessly, with careful planning and determination of which we have always been proud. I will never forget the time our daughter Piper, a student at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina called: "Mom, I am in Philadelphia for an interview and I just wanted you to know where I am." I had not heard about any of this before. How did she get there? Wasn't she supposed to be in class? We don't know anybody at a production company in Philadelphia. This was on my mind.

Our son Perry Jr., after much preparation, is moving to the other side of the world for two years to continue teaching. Interestingly enough, he is going to a country where his father spent a year of his life but has never discussed. For more than forty years, Perry Sr. had no interest in "going back" to Vietnam. But now, going back to Vietnam is on his mind.

I am excited and looking forward to the transition for our son. I am also in prayer and attempting to be as passionate about this change as he is, recalling the words from James 1:2-8:

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Piper decided that we needed to celebrate her older brother's adventure. Four days of celebration were planned, beginning with a surprise gathering on July 4th. My son's college buddies and a couple of his friends from high school joined in to give him a wonderful send off. The celebration was on all our minds.

On the evening of the 4th, about 40 of us, friends and family, journeyed together to watch the fireworks at Lenox Square from the 31st floor of a downtown building. I thought of my mother, our children's grandmother, whose birthday was July 4th. Her birthday was on my mind. She died in 1999, two months after I started serving at St. Philip's. She would be proud.

It is my desire and wish that you are doing much the same in the midst of life's changes and transitions: enjoying the passions of life, whatever they may be, thanking our creator for all the highs (and the lows) of life, looking forward to a new day, and always, to celebrate and remember the joy.