I returned to my home state of Pennsylvania for few days before embarking on CPE in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. When I got home, my mom gave me a box and told me that it should help me this summer. I opened the box and there were two clerical shirts.
The shirts that my mom picked out are of the style where you buy a separate collar and posts to go with it. Not only do you get measured for the length of the collar, but you have to decide if you want a 1", 2" or 3" collar, a pontiff (stiffer material) or Clericool (more flexible plastic collar with air vents...and lemon-scented...?), and if you want short or long shanked posts. Whew. There are so many decisions! My mom and I made the trip out to the store where she ordered my shirts from and I began trying on collars to find the right fit. The store clerk and I eventually found the one that best fit my neck and shirt. I turned to look at my mom and the look on her face was priceless. She said, "I'm sorry. I'm having a moment right now." I haven't seen that look on my mom's face since I walked downstairs in my homecoming dress during my freshman year of high school.
I'm reminded, in these little moments, that the call to ministry is not solely my own, but it is of the community, which includes my dear mother. My mom continues to walk hand and hand in this journey of seminary and discernment and I thank her for that.
Graphic from http://www.askthepriest.org/askthepriest/2005/09/why_the_collar.html