Continuing in our (somewhat) theme of the week "Not knowing exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing" (or is that the theme of life?), today we celebrate the feast of John Mason Neale.
Because of his chronic illness, he didn't take a parish position and instead was the warden of an almshouse, which doesn't sound any easier to me. He stayed in that position for his whole life. (More about his life here.)
I'm sure this is not what he expected when he entered holy orders. But looking at his life now, what he did seems so obviously good, so obviously right.
I think this is one of the reasons I like obituaries: because you know how things turned out. I've never been one to skip to the end of the book, but obituaries are the end of the book. You can skip over all the doubts, all the false starts, and find out if what was attempted worked or not. Reading this brief outline of JMN's life, I have a feeling we miss the important struggling bits that don't appear in the prayer book bio.
Two other things about John Mason Neale: one is he is best known as a hymn writer and translator. Here are 120 (!) of the hymns for which he is known, which include All Glory, Laud and Honor, and Christ is made the sure foundation.
Secondly, he looks an awful lot like David Duchovny, doesn't he?