Some time ago I was asked two questions: What is your greatest joy, and what is your greatest fear? My answers are two sides of the same coin: my greatest joy is reconciliation, and my greatest fear is a broken relationship that can’t be repaired.
I’ve worked on my greatest joy as a therapist since 1998, and spent ten years in private practice focusing on couples therapy, plying the trade of relationship repair with hundreds of individuals and couples.
My work as a therapist began in graduate school at Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Washington, 1999), studying Marriage and Family Therapy. I worked in mental-health agencies and at Group Health Cooperative before running my own private practice.
I also do the work of reconciliation as a faith leader. In 2007, I entered the process of formation as a deacon in the Episcopal Church, and was ordained in late 2010. Deacons are part-time clergy, helping churches look outward to see and respond to the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. They challenge and motivate churchgoers to live out their faith in lives of service to others. Deacons are rarely paid by the church for their work, because they are supposed to spend most of their time and energy outside the church walls.
In May 2013, I began recovering from alcoholism. My story of recovery - which is still unfolding today – is another story of reconciliation in my life. In recovery, I am being reconciled to friends, family, and community; and I also work to be reconciled to my own best self. In 2015, I began to respond to a growing sense that I was called to the priesthood, a calling and a role that would not be possible for me without my recovery experience. According to the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church, the mission of the church is "to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” (BCP, p. 855). That sounds a lot like my life’s work, the work of reconciliation.
I entered graduate school again in the fall of 2017, at Virginia Theological Seminary. My husband and I are spending three years in Alexandria while I complete my Master’s in Divinity. We live there with our animal companion, a Shiba Inu dog named Hoku ala (a Hawaiian name that means ‘star rising’). We are planning to return to the Seattle area in 2020, when I will finally (God willing) take up the vocation of Episcopal priest.