I know, I know, it’s another opening statement about how I recognize that I haven’t written in a really long time and something just had me distracted and I couldn’t bring myself to write and I swear I will now!
This homesickness thing has thrown me for a much bigger loop than I ever anticipated. I–Miss Most Likely to Brighten Your Day, Most Talkative/Distracting/Distracted, the hyperactive and over-involved über-Methodist–I’m supposed to have too many other things going on, a spiritual life that searches for God in all things, and an ability to find something good in each day (as I teach my Sunday School class as we do highs&lows each week). Instead, I’ve found myself drinking way more coffee than I need and eating my feelings, curled up in a ball on our couch watching Mad Men for hours each afternoon while I wait for David to come home.
And whatever the merits of that show might be, it’s probably not how I should spend my afternoons. The ennui seeping out of each of the characters gets absorbed into my own lifeblood–to everyone’s detriment.
The church transition has been particularly hard. I recognize that there are few congregations like Union and few communities like STH, but learning the different ways that Midwesterners demonstrate passion and emotions has altered my experience of church out here–and not always for the better. This Sunday, I (finally? again?) broke. While driving out of the church parking lot, on our way to brunch, I turned to David and quietly said, “My spiritual life has taken a major hit in this move.”
It was as if someone just turned on the faucet in my tear ducts as I acknowledged that sentence. I could no longer hold back. “I don’t feel God anymore. I don’t know where God is, but it’s not with me. Even in times of deep sorrow I’ve felt more support than I do now. I’m not spiritually fulfilled in church. And I don’t have a community to be filled by. I’m just…lost.”
We talked, we hugged, I dried my eyes, we ate, and David (as always) affirmed his hope that I not only be happy, but also that my spiritual life be fulfilled. And I think writing might be one of those things that might fit one or both of those categories at different times. In forcing me to find good things to share, in analyzing the things that are going on, I pray that making writing a practice helps me in re-discovering God.
As we worked in the garden later that afternoon and I hacked away at the years’ worth of dried leaves and dead plants, I was reminded how blessed we were to be able to garden, to cultivate the land, to work with God’s creation. Brian Wren’s hymn “This is a Day of New Beginnings” entered my head–the song my mother hung up in our kitchen during my parent’s messy divorce. I sang it internally as I pulled out the old and dead to make room for next year’s new. The physical exertion was needed, and the reminder of God–and the comfort of family–was blessed.
A lot has changed. Much is new. And while I’ve acknowledged it before, it will take time. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to hurt. And it’s ok to work and search for the good.
Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring,
step from the past, and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find…