As she drives from Atlanta, away from a city church in the city lights, the darkness frames a distant memory: stars. Not just the dippers, but “stars between stars, a virtual curtain of stardust upon which the larger constellations were hung.” She’s following these stars to a one-room white clapboard church where she will become its first female rector. She’s also driving away from a certain striving – which it turns out, will follow her anywhere.
“Let me first say that I am biased now and always will be,” Rob said, after I finally found the guts to call him. It seemed safe to confide in him since he lived so far away.
I called hoping Rob would know how I felt – since he had also spent time in a close-knit Christian community that didn’t – on paper – approve of his daughter’s sexual orientation. I was still in the early stages then, not yet talking locally about it but needing to know I wasn’t alone.
Today we visited a church to hear a family we love play music. Man, the music was so good. Filling the small, high ceiling sanctuary were the organs of gospel music and the cadence of Americana. The fat and tender guitar riffs drifted into my soul. God was pressing on me, as he had many times before in worship. It nearly always took the form of tears, and this time was no exception.
Though the music was modern, some of the hymns were not: we sang “Standing on the Promises”, familiar from my childhood days at small Bible Chapels on the east coast. Back in those days, I’d memorized God’s promises from scripture through clubs like Awana: “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. The promises were God’s, given to a different people at a different time, but we were taught to take them on as our own.
I’m in the midst of a job change now after nearly 10 years, after somehow working my way into the Committed Club. You know the Club, you’re probably in it too. The Club is for people who go above and beyond, even when no one is looking, in order to please…. who exactly?
Even after giving notice, my manager is still pouring on the requests and I am still – still – trying dutifully to fulfill them, on my way out the door. But instead of writing about his high expectations, I once again have to own this – this is me and now that it’s happened in two significant parts of my life, it’s clear that I am the common thread.
Yet another strand to unwind from this spool of yarn deconstructing all over my floor.
I did the same as a volunteer. My organization of choice just happened to be the church. Now that we have attended a new church for a few months, Continue reading “Pleasing Others”
It’s time, again, to go out. Out beyond the known walls. This has meant so much more than a Sunday change. It’s about hearing new voices, meeting and listening to new people, reading new authors, engaging and participating: not as one with an agenda but as one who has a lot to learn.
I could have written this as a 21-year old finishing college, and I daresay I did. I went off my security grid and into a gritty part of LA, listening to lives as different from my own as I could imagine. Teens in the neighborhood didn’t give a damn about Continue reading “The Wall”