This post has been rattling around in my head for days. It starts and stops and starts again, but always, it begins the same way, with this thought, "I really need to fall in love again."
Oh not with my husband (or someone else instead). Oh my no!!!! I am as crazy in love with that sweet man as ever, maybe even more than that, as we approach our second anniversary. So no, not with him, but with my life, the whole of it, the arc of it, all the lovely little bits and pieces that fall in and out to create every day.
There was a time when I did love my life. A time when I looked forward to most of every day with a sense of joy of and hope. A time when it felt all of a piece, and I felt whole in it. When my various worlds were intersecting pieces of something complex and wonderful that fed me and from which I turn made offerings of meaning to others.
There was work. And while it was not perfect, (no job ever is!), it was good. I had a solid sense that I did something good, something that mattered, that made a difference. Internally I knew it and externally it was validated.
There was church. Again, not perfect, but good, a "fit" in so many ways. There was the rhythm of regular preaching and presiding, and the deep wrestling with the texts that came with that which enriched my spiritual life in wonderful ways, the chance to be of service in my congregation, my local community and the larger church. Again, validation, knowing both from within and without that this was good and right and fitting.
There was the web of relationships formed in a smallish community. The ones that were close and personal -- my Soul Sisters, my Anam Cara, and other close friends, and those that simply were -- the person at the coffee shop who knew my "regular" morning beverage, the check-out folks at the grocery store and gas station who knew me by name, the smiles around town from those who knew and were known.
And even my house. My big, old, rambling, drafty, needy house, with its porches and swing, it's very own particular charm. It all worked together to create this life that I simply.....loved.
So why on earth, I hear someone, somewhere, wondering (or perhaps it's in my head) did she leave this wonderful life that she loved so much? Good question. Why indeed?!? It is true that to everything there is a time and a purpose and it was time. Time for change, yes, sometimes even time for leaving that which we love that has become too comfortable, to easy, to allow for what we both hoped would be some fruitful new beginnings and growth.
Instead it has been a year in which much has felt as if it has been standing still, holding, fallow and in wait. We have not settled-in, not in any meaningful way in any of the parts of our lives that matter to either of us. Work, church, home, community....nothing has really clicked, taken hold, taken root. There have been hopes and plans, tries and starts. Things were plotted that were not sown, planted that did not grow. In this last year, I have not loved my life, I have simply resided in it.
I do, however, remain hopeful about our future. One of the things I often talk about with my clients when they are struggling with an unhappy present is "What have you done that worked for you in the past?" So taking some of my own advice, I'm thinking about that, and hopefully we will be moving into some of those "things that worked" very soon.
We have intentionally made the choice to move our lives into a small, self-contained community. In this community will be our home, my workplace and our church. My wise husband suggested this to me as I looked at accepting a new position, and initially I was somewhat resistant. The plan was to be urban when we moved last year, I told him. We had "done" the small town thing. Yes, he reminded me....and happily so. Oh. Yeah. Right. That did work didn't it? Happy, loving my life, all that. The plan here of course is not to try to recreate that previous life. That is neither possible nor desirable. But the parts that worked....those might be available to us in this new place. Proximity to the potential beloved is the first step for falling love, right? So proximate, we shall be! And from there...who knows?
My future work setting remains somewhat an unknown quantity as a new job always does. The portents are good however. A future coworker has invited me to lunch, others have sent e-mails of welcome. The setting itself will be more like what I have enjoyed in the past. Our new home makes me smile when I walk in the door. Our new church is lovely, and the people seem very welcoming as well as very much engaged in the work of the Gospel. The timeline for my actually being clergy there is still a little more amorphous than I would like. Patience? Not my best thing! But I am trusting that God does have a place for me at that very beautiful table, and all will unfold as it should. I am "in conversation" with the team, the mentor and all the folks that matter, and will wait, pray and hope.
My wise husband has suggested that we celebrate New Year's on May 15th this year. It is our second wedding anniversary, and almost a year since our move here from Little Town on the Prairie. It will also mark a close to this year in many ways. Most things will be done or nearly so, and new things will be about to begin. I know there are many lessons for me in this year. I am too close to it to see them all right now, but I trust they will unfold over time. One thing I do know is that I need to unfurl the tight little knot that I have become if I want to allow myself to open again to being in love with life. Loving life brings both joy and risk and I want to let both in again in full measure. May it be so.