Tuesday, April 30

Journey Forth

I've always loved doing a new thing.  When I was a child my parents called a family meeting.  Odd and unheard of, this set my brother and I on edge, hesitant and perhaps defensive.  During this awkward time, slumping on our seventies red-tweed sofa and orange velour chairs we learned we'd be making a big family move.  The destination was completely lost on me all of twelve-years-old, freckled nose and geographically sheltered.

I grew up in one place in Northern California; went to the same elementary school from Kindergarten through sixth grade.  I, lump-in-my-throat, saw classmates move away to far off places...like San Jose.  Not many, but a few. And in third and fourth grade when I watched them go I thought to myself,
"I'm glad we'll never leave.  I'll grow up at that mall, visiting that pool, eating at that restaurant after church."   
How we love to use the facade of permanence as a comforter.

But the announcement from my father (Where was Milwaukee?  Tennessee?  No, Wisconsin.  Oh.) stirred something in me, and at the end of all of our childish questions I was excited to do something new.  I have found, since, that I always gravitate toward the jobs and churches and organizations where I can get my hands in right from the start.  This means that change and I are pretty tight and I know she's nothing to fear.

She's actually a gift.

“Even as the underpinnings of my world had shifted radically, they were resettling in a more secure place. Even as things seemed to be falling apart, the truth of God's love was holding me together."  -- Christine Cain, Undaunted.
In this season I'm moving into a new vocation.  I'm watching and listening for clues, connections, fits. Today I'll venture into something here.  Tomorrow I'll dip my toes there.  The past thirteen years has given me time and experience to make room for something new.  And I'm excited to journey forth into what's next.

While I wait and prepare, I continue to press into what's most life-giving -- community -- knowing that new turns and directions could actually tear me from it.  However, knowing that the future will look different from the present isn't enough to steer my heart cold toward what and where I am right now.

Right now there's silly, strong floppy-haired boys, giggling most hours of the day.  There's the quotidian tasks of cleanliness and structure and need.  There's the good conversations and the heart-molding that happens within them.  There's ministry and formation.  There's love and marriage.  Study and teaching.

Wherever we go, we take what we've learned from community with us.  I am that rugged, persevering life from Northern California and that learned, passionately merciful life from Milwaukee.  But I am also the coastal, restful responsibility of Orange County and the failing industriousness from Gold Country.  I am the wandering hope of the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest and I'm the certainty of love that is my life in the Rockies.  Where I've been makes me who I need to be for where I'm going.  We don't break community when we leave it, we renovate it, pushing the walls out, taking what we've amassed and putting it into something new.

Change is the field leveler and the tiller and the sower; she doesn't leave us fallow.  I'm breathless to see her again.

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