I’m used to preparing for change. You learn to gather up The Lasts. The last drinks with friends before a few months abroad. The last church service before moving away. The last lunch with colleagues before a new job. I’ve found Lasts to be helpful road markers in navigating new things right alongside the sadness of saying goodbye – even if temporarily.
I was not prepared for the Lasts of the 2020 Before Times. Because had I known, we would have hung out for just a little bit longer, had another drink, taken one last selfie and the last hug goodbye would never have ended. HOW COULD WE HAVE KNOWN? And also, thank God we didn’t. Because if you’d told me what we were in for I'd have climbed into a hole in the garden and never left.
I'm not the same person I was a year ago. I'm now the kinda person who notices the magnolia trees are late to blossom this year – WHY ARE THEY DENYING US THIS JOY?! DON'T THEY KNOW WE NEED IT NOW MORE THAN EVER?!When I look back over the past 12 months I am reminded that:
- Everything happens
- Life is precarious
- I am not in control
- I need to laugh more
Everything happens, including all the good you can imagine and the all the bad of beyond even your worst nightmares.
Everything happens. Everything we can control and everything we can’t.
Everything happens. And God is there.
God can protect. But that doesn’t mean you will be protected. And God can heal. But that doesn’t mean you will be healed. And God can provide, but that doesn’t mean what you need will be provided.
And yet, on the very day my mind was swirling with thoughts of identity and priviledge and awkward conversations, my spiritual director started with a blessing that talked about respecting individuality and difference. HOW COULD SHE HAVE KNOWN this was what I needed to hear?
And so what are we to do with a faith that says the Great One has chosen not to save us from this thing but can also be unexpectedly present in the detail of the every day?
I don't really know.
And yet, I’m still convinced that the goodness of God is planted deeper than all that is wrong. I know that I will see the goodness of God while I am in the land of the living. And so I come back to the table - a wild feast in the presence of my doubts and fears and worries - a table for those who have much faith and those who would like to have more - a table that declares there is grace enough to go round, even here, even now. And so...
Break the bread. Pour the wine. Get comfy with complex questions and no satsifying answers.