Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I've spent over 20 years of my life in one town. I never thought that would happen. As a child we moved frequently due to my father's job changes. The house I have the greatest memories of was one that we lived in for probably four or five years, until I was ten years old. We were going to move out of state from there, and I remember feeling terrified. For some reason, maybe my age, the awareness of leaving behind everything familiar and loved, especially the house, was so disconcerting to me I couldn't process the information. I also going from a Catholic school to public, and I was really afraid. I don't know what I thought the kids were like-heathens, I suppose-and I couldn't even imagine life without nuns, or life with a gymnasium and a cafeteria. All I do remember, though, is when we did finally move from a house to a townhouse, I worked feverishly to fit in. And I did lose the innocence of our old home, the first childhood memories, like leaving a womb. Things weren't the same. They could not be. But I wanted them to be as much as I wanted to adopt my new home and feel familiar there, too.

I find lately the same pull, though in a different way. We aren't moving physically, but in my heart and spirit, I feel I have to. Certainly we're growing and learning things all the time. But there are periods of remaining...in particular places, with particular people, doing particular things. I feel it is time to move on. New things are coming into my life, and old things being removed. I've had a life drawing class for years, and for the past year, I have not been able to get enough people together to keep it going. I wouldn't think much of that if it happened once. But it has happened five times in a row. I just got the call tonight that the latest attempt was a failure. This frees up a night. In a weird and random "coincidence", I met a person I knew of only casually in the past again this summer. But now she's an integral part of my week and introduced me to a group of women who have suddenly become very important in my life. Again, if one of these things happened, I wouldn't think much of it. But several critical things are happening all at once. Other folks I met through one Celebrate Recovery group connected me to another where I seem to have much opportunity for ministry, and more people within this group have become an integral part of my life.

Once again I find that it is hard to leave certain things behind. There may be more changes before it is all said and done, and I'm realizing I can't stay in one place and try to stretch to another. It's like trying to step into a boat off a pier, keeping one foot on the pier. If you don't jump you will wind up on neither the boat nor the pier, but in the water. Or else like one of those old Road Runner cartoons. The coyote steps off a cliff into the air, expecting for a second to be on solid ground. Then he falls straight down. I guess that's what I'm afraid of. Am I stepping into the air? I had a grinding headache all day, from fear and anxiety I think. My Psalm study today was on the familiar 23rd Psalm. I've read it so often I really felt no interest in doing the study, except that I desperately needed some reassurance. The thing I noticed was the overall presence of God in the Psalm, from the opening verses describing our needs met in life, to His presence with us in death, to being supplied in the face of our enemies, to having an eternal home in Him. The thing I realized is, is that the presence of God is the familiar thread that runs through everything we do, is everywhere we go, and goes before us and behind. I never noticed that before. We go into the unfamiliar with the Familiar. That gave me peace.


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