Wedding in the Catskills: Prelude

Today was about getting ready for tomorrow. I spent the morning working on some final details for the wedding liturgy. Andrew and Hannah have been creatively involved in the liturgy choices and details seem to change by the minute.

This afternoon we had the rehearsal at Aunt Marcia’s home by the lake. It was a bee hive of preparations, and in the midst of it all, I herded the cats of the wedding participants for the rehearsal. Another wedding edit: going from two wedding attendants to fourteen.

After the rehearsal, we drove into Mountaindale to a lovely outside bar for a reunion of family members and friends. All of us from Texas loved the Austin-feel with a temperature edit of about twenty or more degrees. Oh. This is why people love summer.

Skipping the post-dinner after party, my sister-in law, her sister, and I (the three sisters/moms/grandmas) did the wind-y country roads back home. We were literally stopped on our way by the sunset over the Catskills.

God of love, you have granted us a peaceful night and a perfect end.

A wedding in the Catskills

I met my brother, Austin, at Newark today, and we made the beautiful two hour drive to Mountain Dale, New York, for a weekend in a part of the world where I’ve never been before. New birds! New flowers! New landscapes!

My nephew is getting married on Saturday, and I’ve been invited to officiate. It’s a family event in the Catskills.

My other brother, Richard, rented a historic (1850!) home where many of us will be staying.

I’ve spent a great deal of zoom-time this past few weeks planning the wedding with Andrew and Hannah. They had originally planned to be married two years ago, but we all know what happened. Like it did to so many others who had to delay important gatherings.

I’ve had such a good time with Andrew and Hannah, two artists (dancer/musician/actor), as they re-crafted the Episcopal marriage liturgy and made it their own. Such deep and wondering conversations about God that fills a priest aunt with joy!

Tonight we all settle in. Tomorrow the pre-festivities begin. I am jumping up and down spiritually to see what God had in store.

And now a German lark

I’m still testing positive for COVID but the doctor at the hospital wrote me a note that I hope will allow me to enter the US. I’m feeling better than I have all week and never had fever. I’ll still mask and do my best to keep others safe. Thankfully, the airline I am flying home on still requires masks.

I’m on a midnight flight to Frankfurt. There I catch a direct flight to Houston. If all goes as planned, I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon.

I did a last drive around Keflavik, my little Iceland home, before I did my final packing up. Everyday I’ve had some (not so) little unexpected gift. This evening, I soaked in all the Iceland beauty one last time—mountains and sea and birds.

New wildflowers have started to bloom, and I stopped to enjoy them.

It’s turned bitter cold, so I am back to layers with my coat and hat. It seems strange to think of the opposite weather I’ll be experiencing, I hope, tomorrow.

I’m still processing all this trip had taught me but what I am sitting with now is the reminder to expect twists and turns. I know that God will be beside me, and actually, truth be, always going before me, often silent and inseen. I know that eventually things will sort out. One way. Or another.

Isolation in Iceland

Being alone and COVID positive in a foreign country, I am learning how resilient I am, AND how much I need other people—and we all need each other.

I got an official email from the Icelandic government telling me what health protocols to take. I am doing my best to keep others safe but without my people near, I have to leave isolation to get food and supplies. I can do this for myself, but it reminds me of how important other’s acts of kindness are.

I’m amazed at the delicious food I can find at the local Bonus grocery. So many delicious choices!

I’ve been able to set up a little office in my hotel room, and between naps, working via zoom using my iPhone and iPad. My internet connection is excellent, and I have easy charging stations next to my desk. I’m a bit slower than usual, and I’m finding extra time to pray for congregations and people I serve as I move through my work tasks.

How amazing I can be sick in Iceland and still work remotely.

I have a rent car, and I have learned to get about Keflavik. I can pretty much find every place I need without a map. I smile when I see the KFC (yes, that KFC) which is one of the signs I’m near my morning place to walk in quickly to get my coffee and morning roll. Everyday I find a new sight or item to enjoy. What Icelandic surprise will I find today?

I’m amazed that I’m being given the gift to “live” in a small town in Iceland for a week.

Every little text or email or phone call from home helps me get through the day. All sorts of people sending me kind words and offering prayers.

Why am I amazed at the difference those prayers and words make? They are not onlys (as in only a prayer or only a text)—they are tangible gifts of God’s love.

After nearly two weeks on the road, I had the hotel do some laundry. No laundromats in Iceland, it turns out. Folks have their own washer or share one in their housing unit. It was a great gift to have my neatly folded clean clothes delivered to my room.

Aren’t clean clothes amazing?

When I went to the hospital this past Monday hoping to get a “fit to fly” clearance, I prayed that if it were safe for me to fly (that is, not make others ill), I’d be able to leave. I’ll admit that I wept at what I believe was God’s answer—that I needed to stay away from others. I’m hoping for a “yes” tomorrow when I hopefully see a doctor. For today, I am thankful for the good gifts that God is giving me. In Iceland.

In Iceland!!!!