Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On Epistles and Sea Change (Epistolary Wednesday),

As much as I’ve loved our themed epistles on Wednesdays, I’m starting to think that every blog post is an epistle. And every novel, every essay, every poem for that matter. After all, if it’s not written in a diary, then it’s written for an audience, from one person to many others, meaning, maybe I won't identify a fictionalized recipient every week. But sometimes I will. So: here’s me giving notice that Wednesdays are epistolary by nature, whether or not I’m writing to you, my husband, daughters, Jesus, Obama, or the Duggar family. Yes?

But about sea changes. I’m not really a water girl, and probably shouldn’t talk like water words come easily to me, but sea change makes me think of sailors and wet rope and a stern watch on the ocean. It’s the phrase that ran through my mind a few months ago in the middle of weeks of restlessness. Have you ever felt change coming like you feel a storm rolling in? Maybe we don’t know how loud or wild the storm will be, but we know it’s coming nonetheless. And we sit on our perches with cold anticipation and a thrill in our stomachs because we know things are about to Get Interesting.

Well that’s where I’m at, and I’ve been here before, watching for sea change. Sometimes the waters rise up and roil so slowly you can’t tell exactly when it begins. Other times, it’s a flash of lightening and a darkening sky in an instant. I’m not a boater, like I said, but what I hear is that we can get farther if we cooperate with the wind and hike our sails to catch it when it blows.

Sunday night, a small group of friends and I met and we asked each other the question about what was next in each other’s lives. Where did we feel God calling us, where did we think we were going? Funny to find out, most of us in the room were feeling a sea change too—facing decisions about babies and moves and jobs and settling or not settling down. And then we prayed that we’d catch the wind of the Spirit wherever it was leading, that we’d have our sails up at the right moment so we could move along with it.

And then we each went out into a wet and icy November night, to chilly cars, and slick streets, to the next morning's alarm clocks and waking children and meetings and phone calls and family chaos and drama. Keeping our sails up takes some diligence in the midst of the everydayness of our jam-packed lives. It means readying ourselves when we're not really ready for change, when we don't know what change looks like, and when we don't know if we really want it. And then, despite our diligence to hoist the sails, there may be the impossible absence of wind. At least for a time. And there we live: ready but not ready, ready but mystified, ready and going nowhere--all while we try to live like responsible, loving human beings--taking out the trash, greeting our neighbors across the snow-covered yards, praying, giving, blending hemp seed and fruit smoothies for our children's breakfast, and, every once in a while, checking on that cold and unmoving winter sky as it's framed by the window.

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