I’m playing hookey today. Staying home from church on purpose. Even before I got ill this week, I looked ahead at the calendar and said, Sunday–let that be Sabbath, for real. When you are a lay leader in a small congregation with a part-time minister, generally, Sunday is not a day of Sabbath. Or, I should say, in my experience it is not. And I just didn’t have the energy to put myself out there for others today. Very selfish. So not what I’m thinking about for the future of my congregation, either. (Some day, when I’m feeling better, I’ll state that vision clearly, when I am physically and emotionally ready for it to be examined by UUs with very different congregational experiences. For now, let’s just say I’m hoping we can become the kind of bretheren that remembers to look after “the least of these” in a very strategic way.)
Right now, instead, I’m doing my spiritual practice: writing. Why has it taken me so long to figure this out? It’s not like people haven’t told me before that it is my way. Why is it when I’m most vulnerable, I stay away from the thing that gives me strength? It is almost as if I am punishing myself for being human. For being lost. Like those stories of the stereotyped male who is so lost he won’t ask for direction. I know what gives me direction, focus, care and I put it at arms length.
Today, I couldn’t face going to an “iffy” church service, one that might feed my mind but would skip around the surface of my soul. I chose, instead, to stay here, in my pajamas with the Kleenex box only a reach away, and find my own way to that place that strikes the chord in my soul that sends reverberations out, I hope, connecting me with others. For that, I say this prayer:
We are not dropped in a desert, to find our way alone. We are brought to earth through people, and if we are lucky, they are people who adore each other and us. They raise us, again—if we are lucky—to learn the ways of the world through watching them and experimenting, ourselves. They raise us to wander into our own deserts at our own pace. Again, if we are lucky, we find them there, at the other side, arms open wide to receive their prodigal.
And if we are not lucky in birth, if we are born of parents emotionally untethered to each other or to us, and we feel as if we are raised in a desert, we may take a long path to learn that we were not meant to be so. We wander until we are found, a prodigal unto ourselves, able to finally be found by others.
We are not meant to be alone. We are not meant to wander forever, unconnected. We are built for better things. Loving, most of all. To love without reserve, ah, that would be Godly, indeed. But to love at all, even the smallest thing, is the first step into that Kingdom here on earth.
May it be so.