Yup. I’m one of those people who will randomly show up to visit a strange church from time to time. Today I just didn’t get ready in time to make my usual trek to my usual church. So I figured I’d go pop in somewhere a bit closer to home and see what I found.
A year ago I never would have done that. I’ve now gone visiting twice, all by myself, at churches where I know no one and nothing. I highly recommend it as a spiritual practice. It gives lots of perspective on how welcoming we really are and how it feels to be a fish-out-of-water. It also seems to have a strange way of making sure I’m still listening.
This place seemed to call me to show up and come back. I’m not really sure what to think of that. It’s an old church, like, 100 years older than me sort of old. Like I noticed the sanctuary had been retrofitted with conduit over the original stone to hold electrical wires old. And well, the acoustics were a.maze.ing. Also, it only takes 15 minutes to get there. I don’t know if this is going to be a regular thing or a permanent thing at some point but I think I’ll be back there, at least sometimes. Did I mention the acoustics? Haunting. Beautiful. Wow.
This confidence and courage is one of the blessings I am most thankful for out of the last year. I’ve always been a march-to-her-own-drummer kind of girl. But over the years my beat got softer and softer and hazier and hazier and I became more and more careful not to draw attention to myself to rock any boats or take any risks. I guess 13 months of praying for serenity, courage and wisdom might have something to do with this. I have sparkle again. I think sparkle is what happens when serenity, courage and wisdom begin to mix together is significant quantities. Sooner or later they start to ooze out like sweat.
I can do things like go church surfing and take 18 credit hours and read at open mics (actually, I try to memorize and only hold on to a piece of paper as a prop) and comment on Facebook and hang my heart up on the great clothesline of the world wide web. Yes, I had become so stunted I wouldn’t even comment on friends’ Facebook posts.
One advantage of having an alternate church closer to home is that it means I don’t have to devote ALL of Sunday to church. I can still have an afternoon to rest and play with my kids and tidy the house and do my homework. Let’s face it, when getting ready for church, getting to church, being at church and getting home from church is an 8 hour endeavor it gets exhausting and starts to defeat the point of a day of rest and worship.
Speaking of rest and homework… I think I need a nap and I have assignments due at 8am tomorrow and the kids will be home in a few hours. My regular readers have probably figured out that I’m back in school and it severely curtails my time spent here. I haven’t even checked my reader all week and next week doesn’t look good either. I miss this space of un-directed writing. It’s good for me to have the direction and structure school provides, I know that, and I am already learning and loving it. But I miss you guys. Just like if I do make an official switch I will miss my old church. God will guide. That’s how I ended up where I did. I Googled services in my area I still had time to make and trusted God to send me where I need to be today. Did I mention that awesome music? I have much better ears than I have voice. My ears were happy. That’s how I applied to university and got in. I don’t have to understand God to know that She’s remarkably good at sending me where I need to be if I shut up and chill out and trust.