Monday, August 4, 2014

On wandering...

"You would do well to first see the similarities and deep
identities of things before you distinguish this from that.  I like to 
say you must start with 'yes' and never with 'no'"
~Richard Rohr

I sat out on my porch today and conversed with a melodically-gifted finch.  The weather here in the midwest has been very un-summer-like, and I have consciously stopped again and again, feeling the coolness of the air with eyes closed and spirit open.  This morning as a patch of sun warmed my feet, a patch of shade cooled my uncovered shoulders, and a magenta-breasted bird sang to me, I found myself settling into a peace I haven't felt in weeks.  This breath-centered and God-initiated now-full collection of moments gave me a clarity I have been seeking.  A clarity about spiritual wandering, about fitting in or out amidst the different communities I claim as my own, and about the benefits and pitfalls of self-identifying as lost.

I am no stranger to wandering.  I have wandered both aimlessly and purposefully in a way that my Christian friends might find concerning.  I have doubted and questioned, left faith and returned to faith, white-knuckled and released many many things.  And yet the journey itself remains untarnished.  The spiritual 'X' that I once thought marked the destination, instead merely represents a lone point on the path that I have both joyfully found and eventually continued past.

But now, I realize that I have once again been found, and am no longer wandering in the same way.  I have settled back into the arms of a Savior that is no longer who I projected upon Him to be, but is fully and mesmerizingly real in a very mystical and intangible way.  This settledness would make some of my artist friends uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, here I am.  A wanderer, but not at this moment wandering; found but not rigidly pinned down.  And I realize that I have a unique perspective and can potentially hold hands with the lost and the found, remembering my kairos experiences in both of those places, but only if I am standing with my toes nestled in the firm, alive sands of grace.

In all of this I embrace the fact that I no longer fit into anyone else's mold, or definition, or box, and I chose this week to stand up tall, take a deep breath, and relish this truth.  I can't choose what anyone thinks of me, and I have lost the desire to do so.  My home church, the believing community, fellow artists, the close friends who know me best: I want to be an authentic member of all of these groups, fully and consistently my messy self, but I won't pretend I can control the way I am perceived by others.  As I more fully live into who I was created to be, I can reach out to others and encourage them to do the same.