Some things I thought driving home from Annual Conference…presented to you in run on sentences.
I looked in the backseat to my sleepy sick kiddo and thought how crappy I felt about leaving before everything was over and then I thought about how crappy I felt about feeling crappy about that. I thought about the tear of being a mom and being a pastor, a colleague and a friend, and how the only thing that it ever equals up to is not enough time but always enough love and how I needed to find ways to put words and actions to all this love sitting inside me.
I thought about everything I left literally behind; all my underwear, my favorite pajamas, and the socks that I forgot to pull out of the bed sheets. I thought about how this was probably a good excuse to not do laundry and further procrastinate the task of ripping apart the washing machine to get out the one million pieces of red star confetti that currently occupied the deepest crevice of this miracle machine.
I thought about the young clergy lunch; the moment a young pastor spoke up and shared the pain of having $2,000 in the church account and $6,000 in church bills and we only listened to her problem. I wished we had stopped trying to solve, or learn, or be hopeful. I wished we had stopped and been sad for the places we are and the paths that lead us to pits and walls and thorny bushes that leave us shivering like children tormented by shadows in a darkening bedroom.
I thought about what an ass I was for stepping out for a drink only to have a picture of myself projected onto the screen and the facilitator ask me to stand and then I thought about how thirst I was and how much I needed to stretch my legs and laugh and I shrunk behind my steering wheel and felt swallowed up by the empty road.
I thought about the amazing people I had met and how over-the-top blessed I was for their words and wisdom; John Hill, Amanda Henderson, Becca Boone, Rebekah Simon-Peter, Aaron Stauffer…I thought about the young peoples panel and wished the room had been standing room only and that we had cheered for them like hero’s for being on stage and for caring enough to share with an institution that we so often lose hope in. They still believe in this thing, I thought.
I thought about organizing a gleaning mission trip to the potato fields around Major Rettig’s church and then baking up those potatoes and handing them out to the people in the park that After Hours Denver serves. I pictured us on a bus and out in a field and in the kitchen and in the park and I thought this is something we will do, okay, God? And God said, check with your husband before you sign him up and I rolled my eyes and debated if that was truly necessary.
I thought about how I needed to make room in my heart for someone I had been struggling to let in. And I asked God to help me do that and God said that s/he had been trying and that I needed to let go and I growled at God like Fiona growls at me when I tell her to drink more water and I wondered if my reluctance to risk opening my heart would result in a metaphorical drive down the mountain to get more oxygen with God in the steering wheel.
I thought about all the people that wore the stickers that said, “Ask me about The Land” and how it took everything in my being to place one on my shirt because answering that question terrified me more than any question that has ever hit the drums of my ears and I was thankful that others were willing to carry the weight of that answer that I might protect the fragile hope in my heart and, then, I thought about how much I yearned for the feel of the flannel pillow against my cheek and the predictable sound of my family dreaming alongside me and I smiled to think of how large the word family could be.