In my last post I confidently wrote about “finding my fit” in a religious community. Today I am laughing at my assertions that one can really do that, and I find myself eating at least a few of my words for this Monday’s breakfast. The quandary I face is that we live in a part of the country that we truly love. It is beautiful, peaceful, rural, and a place of history for my family and friends. We have spent many years making this home a comfortable nest where our children can one day bring their children, and everyone has a seat around the table. Three of our four parents also live here on this farm, and we are blessed by a warm generational sandwich that would not be as easy to enjoy in another location. But it is not really a perfect fit.
For many years we have struggled with loving our life in the country and longing for the diversity of the city–a situation that I fear would simply be reversed were we to physically move. So instead of tearing ourselves out of our nest, we have tried to live with our feet in two worlds. This effort has been easier for my husband, because he happens to work in the same world in which we are now worshiping; but, for me, this straddling has been a difficult proposition. I miss having a strong sense of religious community around me. I miss plugging in during the week in Bible studies and service. I miss Wednesday night suppers and choir rehearsals even while I love and need the stimulation of a verse-by-verse study on Sunday mornings and deeply considered discussion in Thursday night home group meetings. It is a hard thing for me as for the gazillionth time I find myself pondering what the church is and should be (a community in which to worship, to be fed, to feed others, and so on)–a question I fear I will never adequately be able to answer for myself.And so, for now, my fit is less “off the rack” and more “custom made.” One foot in the homeplace I love, and one in the spacious, some ways less, some ways more, comfortable place of the nondenominational church we have been driving so far to be a part of for more than two years. I know this will not always be a situation that will work, and I struggle with the lack of permanence I feel. But at 52, I have learned that no season lasts forever, and I am striving to exist in the present day more and letting tomorrow worry about itself. For now, there is enough room in my life for both worlds–just as there is enough room around my dining room table for both new and old friends, my growing family, and the changes the future will bring.