Sunday, April 04, 2010

Son.rise.

the sun shining through my window this morning woke me before i could force my eyelids open. it has always seemed fitting that easter morning should burst forth with sunshine. it is all of creation shouting, 'He is risen!'

i've been giving a bit of thought of late to my ongoing church conundrum, and i've decided that once i move to my new apartment, i am going to visit the episcopal church just across the street. i love the thought of being able to walk to church the same way my family did when i was a little girl living in allentown, pa. but even more, in times of frustration and uncertainty about modern evangelicalism (and believe me, there have been many), the traditions of my upbringing have brought me much comfort and a way to experience God in a familiar way but with a heart that understands those prayers and hymns more than i did back then.

as a child, i grew familiar with the tunes, the words, the kneeling and the standing up, and it meant something then. it did. but i was without the experience of a heart converted by the living God. i thought we were all participating in an event. i didn't realize that He was there, rejoicing right along with us. on some level, i believed that the words in the scriptures were true, but i had yet to experience the way that those words breathe life into a soul and etch themselves into your heart. i flitted along, unaware of His plan for my life and the truth that would begin to unfurl in front of my eyes at the age of 18.

so now i find myself, on the verge of 35, wondering where it is in the church-on-earth that i belong. i know that my ultimate home is with God Himself, but i find that so many of my experiences have pushed me farther and farther to the perimeter of most people's understanding of 'modern-day christianity.' and you know, i'm finding myself okay with being there on that fringe, because the last time i checked, there was room at the table for people who don't have it all figured out.

if anything, my lack of understanding means that i'm still wanting to know Him. my unwillingness to simply follow the pack and read the books and listen to the music and do what others are doing doesn't mean that i've 'fallen away'; it means that i'm on my journey. and the finish line is God Himself.

this easter brings with it much sweet and very little bitter. i'm not sitting in a pew in a church this morning, but the living God is here with me, rejoicing over me with song (zeph 3:17). and later, i will go spend time with others who also call His name. and we will break bread together and remember  and express our gratitude for the truth that binds us all together. if good friday has taught me anything, it's that it's always darkest just before the dawn.

happy easter.

if easter means anything to modern man, it means that eternal truth is eternal.
you may nail it to the tree, wrap it up in grave clothes, and seal it in a tomb;
but truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.
truth does not perish; it cannot be destroyed.
it may be distorted; it has been silenced temporarily;
it has been compelled to carry its cross to calvary's brow
or to drink the cup of poisoned hemlock in a grecian jail,
but with an inevitable certainty
after every black friday dawns truth's easter morn.
- donald harvey tippet

Saturday, April 03, 2010

at home

upon waking up this morning, the first thought on my mind was wow, this is my last saturday here. last night, salimah and crystal brought some dinner over and as we sat amidst my boxes and feasted on mari luna, salimah remarked that this would likely be the last time she ever stepped foot in this place i've called home for the last six and a half years.

that reality struck me rather hard in that moment. believe me, i'm excited to be moving forward, and i'm super thankful that a number of logistical things have arranged themselves so that i might do just that, but there is always a tinge of sadness in any closed door, no matter how ready you are to close it.

when i think about who i was when i first walked into this apartment in the fall of 2003, i feel astonished at how much has happened since then...and amazed at the faces who have walked in—and out—of my life. the weekend i moved in, i was filled with so much hope for all that lay ahead of me and a sense of accomplishment for all that i had done to get me here. i was in my 20s, for crying out loud!

now, i find myself in that same place—only farther down this road and with my eyes a bit more focused and my heart more open and yet more guarded all at once. in short, i've grown up. living here has given me the space to create a real home. for a long time, i thought maybe i was making that home for another person, but what i've learned is that i needed to find that place inside of me. and i have. i'm much more secure now in who i am, in what i want, in where i'm going. i'm not afraid of being abandoned, of being rejected, of being left behind. i learned that no matter the circumstances, i have a choice in the matter, always. and my choice now is to move on and not look back.

the other night, i dreamed that someone i used to know and love told me something about himself that i had been waiting to hear for years. and when he said it in the dream (though it was not good news, per se, and was said with a kind of hostility), i felt so relieved. so relieved, in fact, that i woke up almost wishing we could have had that conversation years ago.

what that dream said to me, though, more than anything, is that life is too short not to say what you mean...even if what you mean is what no one else wants to hear. there is still a kind of relief in knowing the truth, regardless of how bitter that pill is to swallow.

and my truth is that i have no regrets, about anything. i still believe in God, but i also believe more than ever in what He has placed in me and the mind and heart and will He has given me to make my choices. i am where i am now, and i know that it's time for me to close this door and open the next one. and more than that, i am ready to make new adventures and see new things in my city for as long as i am called to be here. but wherever i am and whoever is with me, i am at home now. i am my home.