Recently, I bought a new car! A shiny apple green Hyundai Venue. Compared to my little old blue sedan, driving the Venue, makes me feel something like an astronaut. My 2013 Accent had a radio with a USB port so I could listen to music. The Venue has something called Apple Carplay, along with the equivalent of an iPad on the dashboard. I have been fiddling with it the last few weeks just to figure it out.
I had to sign over the title to my old car to trade it in for the new. I wracked my brain to remember where I had put it. I spent a couple of hours searching through my dropdown desk in the living room. After filling multiple trash bags with ancient papers to recycle: Bingo! I found it!
Digging through the piles, I unearthed a few archaeological finds, long forgotten:
- My marriage certificate from 1972. (Just 17 at the time, it brought tears to my eyes.)
- My divorce decree from 2003 where I got custody of all the animals and our house in Del Ray. (It made me smile.)
- Graduation certificates, blue ribbons, and old drawings from my children’s school days. (They made me proud.)
- And most startling of all a church bulletin, a very particular church bulletin, that caught me off guard:
The Dedication and Consecration
Church of the Holy Cross
Celebration of New Ministry
Reverend Joan L. Peacock
November 14, 2001
Exactly 20 years ago, this coming Sunday.
In 22 pages of prayers, I made a lot of promises that day. And so did the congregation. Re-reading this one pretty much took my breath away:
O Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; you have called your servant to stand in your house, and to serve at your altar. To you and to your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do…
What you would have me do.
I did everything 24/7 I believed I possibly could, but following the previous rector of twenty years, I never quite measured up to the parish’s expectations. And it did me in.
Bittersweet, this is not what I would call a happy anniversary, but it is also not an unhappy one. Maybe a little melancholy, but two decades later my life is fulfilled and my heart content. I now look back on one of the most dire and distressing couple of years in my life as a turning point, that twenty years later has led me to be doing the happiest and most creative work of my life – as “Vicar of Liturgy & Hilarity” (a title I gave myself😊) with my beloved fifth congregation, Emmanuel.
So, to mark this august occasion and honor these many years of growing pains, here are some first-person, 10-minute, true stories told live on stage with Story District. Each of them is part of a healing, holy, and hilarious process, I highly recommend! I offer them not just to entertain, but also to encourage each of you on your own journey. With Story District, you can take a class or pitch your story too!
Premiering at Emmanuel in 2015: Mary of Magdala, Seven Times Out of Her Mind;
How to Get a Date Worth Keeping! Town Dance Club, 2016;
Divine Intervention! same venue, 2017;
A Manic & Magical Summer with NPR Invisibilia, 2018;
Worst Job Ever! at DC Improv, 2019; and
Weekend in the Mile High City! Top Shelf 2020 at the Lincoln Theatre.
(And if any of my stories speak to your soul, please feel free to share!)
Happy 20th Anniversary Holy Cross!
Happy 20th Anniversary to me!
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog