Life takes turns unexpectedly sometimes. Darin, Aimee and Amy’s recent discussion on Moving On was timely. I can see the truth of it being unhealthy to stay stuck in a place of bashing or being mad at “the institution” forever. However, there is so much more to journeying with God outside the religious box than being mad at ‘the institution.’
There is so much more that I feel like I haven’t gotten to live out, and now don’t know how or if I will get to live it out. The road is taking unwanted turns for me. I feel like life is propelling me to move on in ways I don’t want to. We just don't live in an area that is "free believer" friendly. Because of my children’s needs, we have decided it’s time to go back to organized church. We found one that we like well enough. The pastor seems an exceptionally kind man. The congregation seems friendly enough. Maybe it won’t be the gagged-and-bound experience I remember from the past. I’m not crazy about it, but I don’t hate it.
The timing of going ‘back to church’ is also coinciding with changes in the internet gatherings. People move on when they’re ready, but sometimes I’m not ready for them to move on! Seeing them on Facebook with blurbs about their dead hamster or their broken air conditioner just isn’t the same. I miss the talks we used to have, or seldom get to have. I’ve never had friends I could be so honest with before. The idea that they will become less central in my life makes me sad.
I’m certainly not through with the journey in my heart outside the box of religion. I’m just frustrated because I’m feeling like it has been largely cut short before it has had the chance to change from a new and better set of beliefs to an amazing transformation of both my heart and my life. I feel that if I had the opportunity to wholly follow the non-traditional path wherever it leads, I’d have more revelation than I could ever have sitting in a church service listening to sermons every week.
This time of year is usually a happy time for me, when winter is finally over and spring arrives. I am planting my gardens as always, enjoying the warm air between sneezes, watching the hummingbirds dart past each other, seeing my cats poking around the now-green yard. However, I’m feeling a certain sadness because this time last year was when I attended my first “Free Believer” gathering. I got to meet my friends Cheryl, Kim, Suz, Kirsten and Darin face to face, and meet other new people exploring God in a new way. I miss them very much now, when I think of that wonderful time, almost exactly this time last year.
While sitting in church listening to a sermon on something I basically already know, I find myself daydreaming about sitting in Kim’s back yard in California, smoking a hookah pipe and talking about how God swings us around in crazy circles like a Daddy with a little girl, delighting in hearing us laugh.
Please God, don’t let this be over when in some ways I feel it’s hardly begun. I'm trying to hang on to faith that when things don't look the way you would like, it's not over. This song came to mind as I brooded over the way things look right now. For those of you who aren't familiar with Stevie Nicks' life, she wrote this song when she and boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham were in financial straits and she had to go back to work doing what she hated, waiting tables and cleaning houses. At the time, it looked like their musical career dreams were washed up. About 4 years later, Fleetwood Mac's best-selling album "Rumours" came out. To date, it was the second best selling rock album of all time.