Last year, Arthur and I left our long-time church denomination after the worldwide conference voted to make a decision we simply could not abide by. After we took a couple months off entirely and spent Sundays making waffles, reading, and just being generally lazy in the best possible way, we knew we wanted to work on finding a new church more in line with our values. Eventually, we landed and started putting down roots. There’s plenty that churches and denominations have generally in common, and while this is a new tradition to us in many ways, it’s also very familiar. There are still occasional moments, though.
Listening to the organ play the intro to one of the communion hymns yesterday, both Arthur and I recognized it immediately. It’s a particular favorite of mine, to the extent that it’s the music I walked down the aisle to when we got married, but as I looked down at the words, I realized they were definitely not the old, familiar ones I know by heart. The closing hymn was the reverse: I knew all the words, but they were not set to the music I know. Both of us laughed afterwards – so close, and yet so far!
Such it is right now in this period of transition generally.
I think one of things that is alternately frustrating and comforting is that after everything (waves hand generally at the last seven or eight years) the building blocks of who I am are still the same. I’m still introverted, stubborn, bookish, prone to wrath, able to laugh most days at the absurdity of life. The bedrock is there. The circumstances have changed fairly vastly, the worldview expanded, perspective changed, but I’m still, well, me. Also, in some big ways, not. The familiar sitting in such close company with all the new is a little disconcerting.
Perhaps one of the things I expected after the everything was a personality transformation into something entirely different. Something that overcame my weaknesses. Something that transfigured my strengths. Something motivational. Something fabulous. And, perhaps, an ending, a there, a destination.
Instead, as one of the characters says to the protagonist in the novel (This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger) I’ve been reading and re-reading, “You believe you’ve been looking for home, Odie. This is where your belief has brought you. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of your journey.”
This post is a part of Microblog Mondays. If you want to read more or join in, head on over to Stirrup Queens! Thanks to Mel for originating and hosting.