Last year at this time, we were deep in transition. A major life-change.
We were quiet. Private.
I was vague with my words ... hoped you might, or might not, read between the lines.
And we named 2012, the way we do each year, The Year of Finding Home.
And it fit so many themes, really. We were homeschooling and we were home. A lot.
I needed to understand this space and these four walls in a new, everyday sort of way.
I was planning a trip to Africa- finally flying off to a place that has always been home in this heart. And I stood up in Uganda, around a dinner of lentils and orange Fanta and new friends- told them all how I'd been homesick. And couldn't this African soil be home too?
But more than this- Todd and I were on a journey, one that we had been on, collectively and apart, for quite some time. My journey was emotional, nostalgic, and from a deep place I couldn't articulate. His was intellectual ... at first. And in 2011 I told God, alone and from a church pew on Holy Thursday, that I wouldn't ask it of my husband.
He would find his own way if this place would be our home.
I would wait quiet.
Anyways, I feared resentment. Feared misunderstanding from outsiders. Feared change and estrangement. But the Lord weaved and intercepted, gave us friends who stood in the gap. And
He brought this marriage closer still ... walked us further into communion.
And in our Year of Finding Home? We did just that.
But I've been known to go underground when I'm in process. I want to have it all figured it out and then tell you the back story from a place of wholeness. Clarity.
I've also learned over the years that the less process I share, the less celebrating I do in the end.
Because how do you celebrate wonders and victories if you don't first share the trials and the journey?
We've experienced some quiet wonder this year and I wonder if we, if I, could have shared more along the way. Except that I can hear my husband in my head, reminding me ... "Ab, we're not that cool." And while I wholeheartedly agree about the cool factor, I wonder ...
Because the truth is, you've journeyed a bit with me, with us, over the last year. And I haven't been able to write lately because I don't know how to write words that aren't see through. And because I've been nervous.
To some it may just be a church change. No big deal! Especially not big enough to write about.
But for us, it's been a major shift in community, in comfort, in control. Leaving one beloved church family for another just miles down the road ... this has been an ironic homecoming of sorts, full of beauty and full of risk.
This new community is one that my husband never claimed until now, the very one I left at age eighteen- frustrated with questions I couldn't answer, history and theology I didn't understand, and emotion I couldn't articulate. As a teenager, I embraced a new church filled with dynamic men and women, exciting programs and worship, leaders and teachers of the highest caliber. I got to know God. And my husband served on staff and I led young women and we lifted up brand new babies in front of a great cloud of witnesses. We grew friendships and shared life in all its glory for ten years.
But suddenly on Sundays, we pull up to the neighborhood stop sign and we turn right instead of left.
We miss our people.
Because we are still here! and we are still the same not-so-cool us. But life is busy and common walls on a Sunday, common childcare rooms, common seats in the back/left of the sanctuary? These givens make staying connected a bit more easy.
But what about when you suddenly find yourself in different space ...?
And we asked ourselves the same questions over and over again, up at night, for a year. Why would we ever leave our people? Why would we give up these walls? This worship? Our history?
We were married here.
And our new space doesn't offer the same kind of childcare. Let's just say we've spent some time in the foyer with some kids. And it's a whole new crowd- equally large, equally rooted.
We have felt lost in a sea of faces.
But then this:
In the past year we've also kneeled, shoulder to shoulder. Cried collective gratitude with foreheads in hands. We've been bowled over by the richness of a sensual, sacramental faith. We've discovered liturgy and tradition- how those alone offer us a community without adequate description. And we have found a family that transcends walls and a history that reaches far beyond ours alone.We've walked forward each week, with palms turned up.
We have found communion.
And despite everything- despite the gratitude, the quiet grief, the immense change; despite what we've left down the road to the left-- the God-given and God-grown friendships, the comforts of familiar space, the full-of-Grace-and-Truth teaching we received, the story of our growing-up; despite all of the new questions we can't answer perfectly and the Mystery we've knowingly embraced ... despite it all, we are sure of one thing:
In 2012, we found Home.
Happy New Year, dearest friends. May you find your home in Him in 2013.