I am on a cross-continental road trip to reset — to reboot — my emotional, spiritual, and physical being. In short, I seek to find myself again. Over the weekend I reconnected with my family of origin. I experienced trepidation ahead of this stop in St. Louis. I have felt obligated to be strong and supportive to them for a very long time as they dealt with significant challenges. The last communications with my sister before I left home, for example, sent my anxiety through the roof. I told my therapist, “My relationship is so often only one way. I give but when I share my struggles I do not feel heard.”
But if this is a trip about rediscovering myself, how can I ignore my family of origin? Besides, I do like them!
In the early afternoon, I arrived at the retirement facility where my dad and sister live. I felt a rush of joy that my brother was there waiting to see me, too! We talked throughout the rest of the day, sharing events of our lives, discussing the world, and at times discussing deep things. We picked up my sister’s finally-arrived new car and had dinner together. Over dinner, my dad asked me why I left my pastorate. No judgment; he was curious. I felt heard, loved, and supported by family as I described the complexity of the factors which led to my resignation.
Before I left on Sunday, I went to church. I tried to squirm out of it but it seemed really important for my dad. You see, I have not been to any church since I preached my last sermon on May 22. I still need healing and space from the rituals, church people talk, and music that is ostensibly connected to my wounds. I am glad I went.
The church I attended is one of two I think of as home churches. Both were and are unpolished. You will not find high liturgy or meticulously-dressed individuals. The first never owned a building and this one prioritizes doing the work of Jesus over caring for their aging building. They practice the love of God through the love of neighbor and humbly doing justice. Still, I’ve been avoiding any church for six weeks.
The Sunday I attended with my father was the first official Sunday for the newly called co-pastors. Because of that, both women preached back-to-back, connected sermons. I was moved to tears by their humility and authenticity. “Trust the process,” Minister Breona Hawkins said, “It’s the things we look down upon that God uses for transformation.”
My journey of reset, of rebooting my life, is not the kind of process valued by our capitalistic culture. Because I choose to trust the process, however, I overcame my angst about visiting with family. Even my hesitation to go to church (the very place my wounds were inflicted) provided me some healing and affirmation.
Though I do not yet know who I am or what is next, I am relying on the spirit of the holy pilgrimage. Having embarked on this road trip of reconnecting with myself, I am confident clarity will come.