1: staying in place in expectation of
It came up casually in a conversation recently that we've been at St. B's for a year now. Conversation went smoothly along, but my mind was jolted. A year? Has it really been that long? I wasn't startled because it's a place that doesn't feel like home. I feel welcome, encouraged and blessed when I'm there. But why don't I know more people? A friend who started attending shortly after us seems to know far more people than I do. Some of this is circumstantial - she was able to attend the women's retreat and I wasn't. She volunteers in children's ministry. I don't.
For a few days, I was unsettled, my wheels spinning as to what I should do to get to know more people. Should I volunteer in children's ministry? in some other capacity? I know from past experience that serving is an easy way to meet people. Yet each time I consider a way to serve, I feel a "No" in my heart.
In the midst of all of this, I visited with a dear friend that I met during a Waking Up Grey group. Since completing the group two years ago, I've wondered about leading a group, yet the timing has never felt right. As I sat chatting with my friend, I kept thinking of people who might enjoy doing this kind of group. And my heart did not stop me as I contemplated doing this. In fact, more friends popped into my mind, as did a meeting place. Will this help me meet more people at St. B's? I'm not sure, but it's nice to not encounter yet another road block. Even with these initial promptings, I am still waiting to move on this idea. I'm not sure it's fully hatched yet, but I'm hopeful if I keep sitting on it, the egg will crack and give me a clear yes or no.
As I look back, I can see I've been in this place of waiting for quite a while. Since the arrival of 2011 alone, I've waited on several things with very little resolution. I've tried (with some success) to find peace in the waiting. I've pictured myself with my hands raised and open, waiting for whatever comes. Waiting is, in its way, a spiritual discipline. It's a reminder that whatever I may think, I am not in charge. I can't control many things that directly affect my daily life - and that is how it should be.
As I drove around the city running errands yesterday, I found myself discontented. I'm generally very happy with my home, my neighborhood, my life. Yet yesterday I was looking at larger homes, well-manicured lawns, nicer cars and, quite simply, wanting. Even in the moment, it was somewhat puzzling behavior. Why was I feeling so unsettled, so unlike myself?
I suspect this atypical behavior is, in part, reaction to this long period of waiting. Because while I am trying to find grace in the waiting, it is hard work. I want to know. I want to be done with the waiting, even if only momentarily.
Yet the waiting goes on and I find myself hoping that this place of expectation is doing its work in me, the work of unfurling. Because if waiting makes me unclench my fists from holding on to my own agenda, my own plan, my own ideas, if it helps me become who I'm meant to be and not just who I currently am, that is a work worth doing.