I have had a heavy heart lately, a few days now, and this accounts in part for my silence here. Things are rumbling about. And I'm trying to pay attention.
While I was in the discernment process of going to seminary (now seven years ago!), I had a couple very distinct images that seemed to capture the experience for me. I felt profoundly aware of the unknown during that time. I knew I could sense God's movement in my life. And I knew that things were going to change in ways I couldn't even come close to imagining.
The first image I had at the time was of walking on a very dark night with a flashlight. The paltry beam of light was all the illumination for my path that I had. It was just enough to see the next step, but nothing more. Each step, then, was one of faith--the long-term perspective was not available to me.
The second image I had was more vast than the path and the flashlight. This time the image stretched out before me, disappearing into the universe itself. Here I became aware of the world as a sweeping tapestry being woven by God at a spectacular, breakneck speed. And while I was in the midst of life changing, about to go in a new direction, I felt as if I would be brought up to the very edge of that tapestry for the briefest of moments. And at the edge, I would glimpse the unfinished edges, the great Unfinished Unknown that lay beyond it. Then, just as quickly, I would see the tapestry speed on beyond me so that it was all I could see. I always had a sense that if I could rise up far enough, I would be able to discern the beauty of that tapestry. But it was not for me to see. I was a part of it. Not above it.
Since then, when I feel life changing again, I am brought back to these images. Most of my life is spent in the daylight. I have a sense of the path, I know I'm on it. Or I'm comfortably in the middle of the tapestry, convinced it's complete and I'm merely a part of it.
But these past few days, I know I'm in the night again. I'm being brought to the edge of the Unfinished Unknown and feel that swooning sense of pure need for God's presence.
I led worship on Sunday and felt the aching difference between being called by a congregation and being hired by a congregation. (I am hired.)
I await news, now long delayed, but promised again this week, about our financial future.
I move ever closer to the end of my PhD program with no promise that there will be a teaching position available for me once I get there.
And about the only certainty I do have right now is that I know we have to move sometime in the next two months. So that where I'm sitting now will no longer be home. Somewhere else will be.
I've been participating in the new blog ::Travelers Together:: and reading the Bible in 90 Days. I've just made my way into Numbers, (which believe it or not is one of my favorite books). This time as I've been reading these beginning books of the Bible, I have been noticing for the first time how very much these books are about *beginnings.* The beginning of the cosmos, the beginning of humanity, the beginning of the family of Hebrews, the beginning of the community, the beginning of a nation-state. The edge of the tapestry, in these books, is close on either side. We are close enough to the beginning of all things that we can see the Unfinished Unknown at all the edges. Now there is formlessness, now there is adamah formed from clay. Now there are strangers all around us, now there is Hagar spying a well. Now there are sea waters forming walls on either side, now there is a mountain trembling the refugees into being a covenant people.
The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. I'm less than three years away from 40 years old. I've been actively preparing to be of some service to the church for the past seven years. I'm tired of preparing. I'm tired of the flashlight view of my future. It is not life-sustainable to gaze continuously into the Unfinished Unknown. I'm impatient for my call--whether to a church or teaching position. I want a home that, on the day I move in, I believe I will live in for more than two years.
My midwife warned me once that things always intensify at the end of a phase, just before you move into another. So here I am.