I think I count time with people.
Coffee date to coffee date, beer to beer, long walks through Piedmont to lazy evenings on the back porch watching the Atlanta Skyline wake up in time for sunset.
Being with my people, celebrating our growth together, challenging each other to Love God and Love our Neighbor more and more, gettin’ Pentecostal (which I am always up for) and laying hands on each other, holding on to each other’s hope when we can’t carry our own – it all marks time, and makes meaning, and is the reason that I do theology at all. To love another person is to see the face of God.
This week I counted days in cups of coffee. It worked out.
We’re naming growth over my almond milk latte, swapping stories of when we tried doing Big Things and they always failed, and how we’re learning how to celebrate Small Things, and trust that the Small Things grow like a mustard seed and the birds come and nest in its branches. It’s always easier to see each other’s growth than see our own, so we pat each other on the back and cheerlead and celebrate the Other when we can’t quite figure out how to celebrate ourselves.
An explosion of ideas. Everything is falling all over itself because there are too many thoughts and feelings and ideas and expressions and it feels like Idea Spring where all of a sudden everything, overnight, bursts into bright green and what was brown and resting is now suddenly alive, active, exploding with joy and creativity and newness. We’re babbling over each other, finishing sentences, digging in deeper and deeper until I have to run to work but we’re still exploding out into the parking lot and talking over each other as I’m diving into my car.
On Monday, I finally came out on Facebook. Everyone in my daily life know I’m queer, but I’ve never just – put it out there, for all my pre-Atlanta people, for pastors and teachers and homeschool buddies and everyone in between. And even though I’ve been “mostly out” for years – guys, putting it out there is a scaryass thing to do. The feeling of being totally exposed is overwhelming. I’m so grateful for how loved and protected I felt because of all of you that stepped up to root for me on Monday. The people that prayed for me, rooted for me, bought me drinks, walked me through all of the feelings step by step, text by text, you all can’t know what your feisty and solid and prayerful and comforting support feels like. Thank you.
This Tuesday was notable for what it was missing. I woke up under the weather, and skipped my favorite Tuesday practice,#TuesdayswithPammie. For over a year, every Tuesday, I drive up to the suburbs for “Morally Ambiguous TV Show Tuesday,” and we eat McDonalds or just toast (depending on whether we’re Eating Healthy that week or not), and keep up a running patter over the show about cars or women or pets or vacations or New Life Plans or what the heck is Walter’s problem why doesn’t he just TALK TO HER, or Tulip give it UP, he doesn’t deserve you!, or can we start our own cult and what would be in it, or why hasn’t someone assassinated Frank yet. We’ve got some serious decades in between us, but the spiritual practice of TV watching (hey it is a thing y’all) meets us right in the middle. When we stop spending time with people outside of our generation, we lose a lot of wisdom and perspective and grace. I got lucky with my Tuesday Spiritual Practice.
The woods in Georgia in March look like Pandora. We hiked and laughed and shared and told stories of how Goodness shows up in our lives when we learn to say “No”; we went without a map and didn’t even get a little bit lost; we celebrated that spring is here, and not just a hint of it, but the whole, huge, blossoming, explosive force of new life tumbling over what was old and dead.
How am I supposed to pick the Sacred Moment from Thursday?? When women gather up in a huge empty church sanctuary to read the Psalms; when prayer warriors persist in finding time, squeezing in time, to pray over our city and families and church; when old seminary friends run into each other over pizza; and when you finish up Thursday with a gaggle of dogs and silly TV and blankets and frank theology that doesn’t mess around with platitudes or pleasantries… Hey, Thursday, you’re killin’ it.
So here I am on Friday. I’m grateful for a practice that forces me to find words for how good and beloved all my people are, bringing me back to what makes my life meaningful, reminding me that good theology is always done in community and by rubbing up against the theology of the Other. Today I’m grateful for my blogging community – some people I know IRL, and some that I only know through this writing discipline – that reminds me to be grateful for what (for who) is Sacred.
Every Friday Leanna Coyle-Carter gathers up some bloggers and we count 7 Gratitudes from the week before! Join us and #LinkUp to her blog and the other writers!