I feel an expansion in me lately, an openness that is light and fanciful, and at the same time, serene and peaceful. Like watching fireflies in Mississippi in July.
My heart has been stretched, creating space for freedom to dance and its opposite (like rigidity and expectations) to crumble.
In September, I attended a training for church planting. The long weekend in Denver introduced me to a denomination that is "radically moderate" (like me!) and extraordinarily open and accepting. And they still believe and preach the Word of God. It was a liberating experience after a lifetime of stodgy legalism.
I met Christians from all over the country. Some were Asians, some Hispanic, some Southern. Some were illegal aliens. Some believed in baptizing babies, while others believed in baptism for those old enough to choose for themselves. Some were Democrats, others Republicans. One was an ex-convict. Most drank beer. Many were fun. Nearly none was weird.
I felt so validated. My secret rebellion to the conformities encouraged by the fundametalists was recognized here as an acceptable way to love Jesus. I can still be me.
Also in the last few months I have noticed an acceptance of me and my "misfittedness" among my co-workers and non-Christian friends. It's almost like I can finally breathe easily, like my faith and my church are not at odds any more. The inner conflict has vanished and maybe a new serenity shows in my demeanor, or maybe it's a confidence that I can do something for God without having to compromise my authenticity.
Then my best friend of 25 years, Ray, died unexpectedly. And I miss him terribly. He's the first person I want to talk with when I have something interesting on my mind, and he's not a phone call away any more. I think I am still going through the grieving process, but I know like I know like I know that I loved him well and that he is with God right now.
Then, last week, the United States elected its first black president. I am optimistic.
I am feeling called by God to do something that really matters. I want to work directly with women and girls, and I'm not sure what that will look like yet. I am feeling pulled to let go of my ego and spend more time loving on other people, instead of feeding my desire to know and be liked by many.
And I need to create.
But a new faith is growing in the space that has swollen in my heart. As I grow spiritually and emotionally, I feel more childlike, trusting and free. It's such a relief to realize that most shit doesn't matter.
So, here I am. Open to whatever is next.