some days i feel lost. like i’m just standing in one place. stuck. but i have so many directions in which to go. that’s the problem, though. there’s so much to do, so many places to go, so much to do, that i just freeze. i stand there not knowing what to do next. knowing what i want to do, or what i need to do, or what i don’t want to do. but unable to make any moves. or any decisions. my insides feel all jumbled up. i’m antsy. i panic. there are so many things to do, so many ways to go. but, i feel like i’m either standing still or going in circles. either way i’m not going anywhere and there are not enough hours in the day to figure it all out. it is in that moment that i have a mini-meltdown. and then i know the root of the problem... i’ve lost all connection with myself, with my spirituality, with my soul.
and so it was for me this morning. it had been building for the past 2 days: the excitement of having 3 days off, the desire to use those days to begin writing (since i can’t seem to find/make time in my packed & crazy schedule), the need to carve out some time for me, and the inability to find the discipline to do any of those things = my frustration level with myself was super high.
well, i woke this morning. late. i wanted to just sit & write and meditate for a long time today, but plans changed. and i was having a hard time changing my unplanned plans for the day. i needed to just be. i felt homesick for the states & my family there. i was panicking at my lack of spiritual discipline in my life. and just when i realized how badly i needed to just be and reconnect, my opportunity disappeared. i wasn’t able to cope with our new plans for the day. i felt unwilling to adapt, and i had a little meltdown. but, i took a shower anyway and got ready. and, as my love noticed, i had a bad attitude & i knew it needed to change it.
so, i did. i pushed away my thoughts, my sadness, & my desires, and lived in the moments of the day. and i enjoyed myself. there was one little beautiful opportunity in the middle of the day, that presented itsef to me. we were at my love’s parents’ house and i went to the bathroom. when i came out, everyone had scattered. so i went outside on the back deck and sat in a chair. the sun was shining every now & then. it was warm. but, there was a strong, cool breeze as well. i closed my eyes, crossed my legs, and lay my hands in my lap, palms up. i soaked in whatever came to me and i took some time for myself. it was only about 5-10 minutes, but it was nice.
the day went on, with more people (we went to lina’s sister’s for a BBQ) and more fun. it was good to be around lina’s family, and all the kids, and the baby. without thinking about it, i enjoyed every little minute of laughter, of holding a cuddly baby, of playing with our nieces & nephew, and of immersing myself in swedish. it wasn’t until we got home just about an hour ago that i realized that today was just what i needed. and on top of that, i had the rest of the night in front of me.
so, right now i’m sitting at the desk, windows open, smelling all the BBQ’s the neighbors are having, sipping on a glass of wine, with a candle lit. without planning for it, the time i needed and yearned for this morning was presented right in front of me. right now. perfect. and amazing.
i took my first sip of wine & thanks to a twitter link, i opened up a website that inspires me (that i haven’t visited in about 3 years) and what did i see in front of me, but an article on “sabbath”. taking time to reconnect with the Holy and sacred that is within us all. peace fell over my entire body & soul when i saw this. this website, alivenow.upperroom.org, which is actually an online edition of a published journal (alive now) every 2 months, has a theme for each issue. i used to read it religiously when i worked in the church for 7 years. it inspired me and always touched me. anyway, every 2 months there is a new theme/focus. and guess what the theme is for the july/august edition. finding time. at this point, i realized that i had found my way back to open my heart so that i could experience a holy moment, for this is exactly what was (and still is) happening to me.
i read the article, the reflection, and let it sink into me. and i felt like i had come home.
if you know me, or have been reading my blog for a while, you know that the past 3 years have been an amazing, life-changing (the understatement of my life), and wonderful time for me. there are many things that have happened, many things that have changed, and many things about me that have remained the same. (all of which will be written down in he book that i am planning to write); but, one of the things that has been going on in the past 3 years has been a strange relationship with the Church – and i mean the physical building, the Methodist denomination, and the whole institution of Church. you can read one of my past reflections here.
you see, i spent 7 years working as a minister in a church. and i spent 4 years getting my master’s of divinity degree (so i could be an ordained minister/pastor/priest (choose which word you understand best) in the United Methodist Church. but, that’s not going to happen now (as of last year) because i am married to a woman.
i’ve not worked in a church for 3 years now (my own choice. i moved to denmark to follow a dream of working in a church there. the moved happened, but the work didn’t), and there have been times over the past 3 years that i am so glad that i haven’t been working in a church and there have been times when i miss it so badly that my soul cries. deep inside, i know that being a minister in part of who i am. i have tried to convince myself that i do not have to work in a church building in order to fulfill my calling as a minister, and that is true: i don’t. but i also can’t just do secular work. working in the middle of the institution of the church, as part of the church, is part of who i am called to be (as much as i don’t want it to be, in many ways). i need to use my faith in my work. i am created to be a link, a bridge between the church and society. i want my work to be in the middle of both: whether i am writing, teaching, or whatever else. but, for the past 3 years (and still today) i have been trying to figure out exactly where i belong. and waiting. some days feeling lost. some days feeling free.
well, it just may be that something has come to me. there is nothing official yet, but the local methodist & baptist church in norrköping, has offered me a part-time, some hours per week, position. this is huge for me. and i wasn’t even looking. i figured nothing was possible here. i will have an interview in a few weeks and then begin (hopefully) september 1. i am certain with every part of my being that this is meant to be. and i have waited 3 years to find a way back… not to the church. not to work. not toward something to “do”. but, a way back to me. those 5 little words “a way back to me” mean so much to me. i can’t even begin to explain that, so i won’t try. just know, it is something deep. something sacred. something whole. it’s been 3 long years of what i can only call my own, personal exile. though, it has all been necessary and beautiful. all things work for good.
the lost & panicky & frustrated-with-myself feeling i had this morning has suddenly vanished (though i know those moments will come again). tonight i feel strong, connected, inspired, and open. and my response to this gift of inner peace is to every day pull out some old books, revisit alivenow.org every day, dust off my favorite black pen, open up a blank page in a journal, close my , breathe deeply, pray, listen, and write. and i’m starting right now.
once i was lost, but now i am found. and the amazing thing is that it happens again and again as we journey through life. for, none of us are every really lost. none of us are ever alone. we are all loved. deeply. and we are all called to love. deeply. perhaps it’s time for me to begin to proclaim that message again… but, before i can do or proclaim or share anything, i must first simply be. it is time to bring the joy of the disciple of being back into my life.
oh. it feels so good to feel my soul burning again. it feels so good to be home.
peace, my friends.