I made a phone call earlier today to a friend who was attending the yearly retreat for the area clergy in my denomination. I thought it was over today but it doesn’t conclude until tomorrow afternoon but I had caught him in between plinery sessions. He was so sweet and kind, he let me know that I was missed…that noone was causing any trouble so they knew I wasn’t there. The sad part is, it made me cry! Not that I wanted to really be there, there have been too many things that have occured, too many events that have broken community for me and I honestly didn’t want to go. The thing that made me cry was the mourning for what that retreat had been for me in years past and the realization that it will never be that again. I have been changed, the community I was a part of has changed, while I would love to be who I was when it meant so much to me I can not be, although I wish the community meant the same thing to me that it did, it doesn’t. I miss so many of the individual people in that community so very much yet they are no longer a part of my faith walk and I don’t see them or even think about them on a daily basis. This is not to say that I do not still have some of them in my life. There is a remnant of those who will always be close to me, but as for the community I am in Exile from it.
I am finally getting to the place where I can thank God that these people and events had a place in my life. I understand how formative that time was in my life. It introduced me to new ideas and showed me how important community is when you are out there doing ministry in what is sometimes isolated places. It gave me an understanding of the importance of feeding your spirit in loving, safe community so that ministry can happen when you go back to “real life”. The main thing I learned is that even though God may journey with us away from places where we were comfortable into the unknown…that God’s presence is all suffiecent! Community may change, but connection to God never will and if we open our eyes to God’s invitation to be a part, we will be blessed beyond measure.
My circle of community, of friends and family is ever widening and I am finally beginning to see God in that process instead of feeling that I will never “Settle Down” and find a home. I look forward to meeting new brothers and sisters and hearing their stories and sharing my stories and journeying on when God nudges me out of that comfort and back into the abundance that lies between there and the next Oasis.