It has been a long time since I've written. Not just blogged, but written. As in anything.
This summer has been a summer of transition, or rather, adjustment to transition. Just three months ago my world - my family's world - looked very different. We had a different routine, a different pattern to our days, a different rhythm. Fast forward to today and while on the surface it may seem like a lot is the same, much has changed.
Everything has changed.
I'm still adjusting.
Okay, yes, this all sounds a bit dramatic, when in fact we are all healthy and fine and doing well. In fact, all the changes have been good changes. Very good. But even good changes come with loss - all change comes with loss - and so this has been a summer of grieving in many ways. And not all of the changes happened right away. Some of the changes - some of the losses - have appeared weeks, months even, after the initial transition. Like aftershocks. Small tremors that don't affect the structural integrity of what you've built but are strong enough to remind you that they're there, that something happened, that life is different. That you did lose something.
I spent eight years working as a full time youth minister in a wonderful congregation. It was in that congregation that I met my husband. It was in that congregation that I was given freedom to dream and work and flex my muscles, professionally and ministerally (I just invented that word) speaking. At the end of May I ended my role as youth minister there and began a different job - one that would take me further, challenge me in new ways. After eight years I was at a turning point - I could have stayed and dug in, or I could leave and explore new worlds. I felt called to go. To change things up. There were many reasons, and it's just not in my nature to go into much detail about such a personal situation in such a public space.
Sidenote - that's weird, right? Because I have no problem spouting off about breastfeeding or bowel movements, but when it comes talking about what happened at my former job that led to my departure I feel it's private. In truth, it's not necessarily private, it's just not my truth alone. It involves other people, people I respect and love, and I would never do anything or say anything otherwise.
That said, I thought I left my old job well. I thought, given the tight and sudden circumstances, I did the best I could to share the news as best I could, with as many people as I could. It all happened very fast. And I wasn't the only person transitioning off of staff. There was probably a lot of confusion and probably sadness - and I shared in that, too. I was unsure of what the future would hold for me. I was sad to leave the students and families I had grown to love so dearly.
I will say this: my exit from the congregation as an employee has affected my ability to remain as a member. I knew I would need time away - that they would need time away - this is healthy and necessary for both parties to move on and grow and to heal. I guess we're still there. Both of us. I feel like I lost my church family. I feel like I lost my pastors. I feel like I lost friends. And yet I can say that while this is how it feels now, this might not be how it feels someday. This warm and wonderful congregation that is a guiding light in our community may one day be a place where I can be - not just "go," but be. It's not that season, yet. But maybe someday.
It still sucks. And sometimes I feel angry, unappreciated, unwelcome. Then I just feel sad.
This transition has come with gains. All the good changes - a new job, a new routine - have brought new energy, new passion. I've come alive in different ways, been able to do things and learn things and realize this potential within me to do great things. That wouldn't have happened if I had stayed. And yet staying would have been okay, too. It always hard to leave a good thing, even if it's for another good - not necessarily better, but maybe better - thing. Better for me, at least. And, I believe, better for the old place. Hopefully better for the new place.
Anyway. There have been a lot of adjustments in the past few months.
When I checked facebook today people - pastor friends - were posting about their Sunday services and I was confused. I didn't even realize it was Sunday. Or rather, I have forgotten what it's like to be a regular church-goer. It's not even on my radar. That's new for me.
I kind of like it.
Again, it's a season. It won't last forever. Or maybe it will. (It won't.) (But maybe.)
I have hesitated to say anything at all about any of this online because of how many people from my congregation may read it. It's not fair for me to talk without the perspective or input from the other side of the story. So please understand that's not what I'm doing here. I'm not bashing anyone or anything. I'm just speaking out about transition, as vaguely as I can, but as honestly as I can, because not saying anything was stifling my truth.
It's been almost two months since I've written anything, because I haven't been able to write about this.
The truth doesn't need our help - it's true no matter what. But sometimes we need to speak the truth for our own sake. For our own help. The thing about truth is that it will come out - it will be made manifest - in one way or another. If we stifle it, truth becomes destructive. It eats away at us. It manifests in different ways, sometimes maladaptive ways. Drinking, drug use, excessive shopping, casual sex, you name it - when we don't come to terms with and then figure out how to express it adaptively, truth can actually destroy us.
All that to say, there's a lot going on. It has been a good summer. It has been a painful summer, but it has been a good summer. The changes are good. All of them. The losses are hard.
Okay. Enough for now. Gotta get on the road - a girlfriend and I are going to see Glennon speak this afternoon. GLENNON. Master truth-teller. GLENNON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love and peace. Love and light.