Things in Pikeville have been much, much quieter and slower than I had anticipated. 'Great expectations' are to blame, I think. I had imagined so much (more? that's probably not the right word... I think I imagined so much different work being done), because Fr. Will is the only priest in the whole county, covering the Pikeville parish as well as two missions. As it turns out, most days seem very slow to me, with just one or two things to accomplish for the whole day.
I'm strugging a bit with this - and praying with it. What lesson does God have for me in this? I suppose, as so often before, there are the common lessons I can always use reminding of: God is more concerned with who we are, how we are, and our relationship with Him than what we DO. BEing is so much more important than DOing. I suppose also there's a real message in dropping our expectations and preconceived notions about how we'll serve Him - and instead remaining open to what (and where, and how) he puts whatever ministry in front of us that will serve Him. After all, this kind of surrender, this kind of letting go and getting out of the way, is important to making sure that we're following God's agenda for ministry, and not our own. Pray with me about this, my friends. One of my biggest shortcomings is an inability to effectively cope well with nothing to do.
Still, I have to say, the people and places of Pike County are amazing. The parish family here have welcomed me very warmly. And I've been invited into many homes. I enjoy so much those times I'm able to visit folks who are recouperating in the hospital or unable to get out much - either bringing communion to them, or just spending some time with them offering some encouragement and prayer. I also enjoy the quiet moments of prayer here at the rectory with a good view of the eastern Kentucky mountains. I pray Morning and Evening Prayer most days with this view in sight.
Here are also some pictures of the parish church in downtown Pikeville... including one showing Fr. Wil preparing for mass.