At Rest in Restlessness.
It is now seven years since I made the decision to step outside the walls of organised church life, activity and leadership. Seven years since I found a job working the night shift, first with Tesco for six months and then with Asda, where I presently find myself. It has not always been an easy journey, I have personally had some very dark times, especially during the first twelve or so months, I have at times pondered stepping back into the fold, but it is a journey that continues to this day, and I am so thankful for sensing the liberty to walk the borders and the edges without guilt or fear of the absence of God. In fact I find the opposite to be true, there is such a sense of His breath in everything and everywhere I find myself. They say after seven years there is a restlessness that may cause you to look elsewhere, but I am finding an incredible rest in my restlessness. I may have an itch but boy do I feel a good scratching going on. A contentment in the misadventure. A joy in the mezzanine floor, the in-between place. A sense of ‘this is where I should be’ even though I may not have a clue where I am. As I said recently on a Facebook post maybe being lost in wander is the most found place on the earth. I dwell in the lost and found space of earth wanderers and the God haunted. The earth is in a continual embrace with the eternal that it lives puckered every moment of every day. No moment or relationship is wasted. Every moment is sacred. The whole earth really is full of His glory.
That’s What Friends Are For.
During this seven years I have been misunderstood, de-friended, warned of my drifting ways and criticised. I discovered nearly every relationship was based on position, belief, gifting, any shift here and the relationships shifted, often somewhere else. This can be construed as rejection or just a call back to reality. True friends will go nowhere. I discovered I had few of those. But I have found something greater on the journey, true friends who love because they love. Not for what you are or what you do but just because. Fellow pilgrims on a journey. Who do not looked stunned or shocked when you suggest something spaced out and wild. Who see a heart behind the questions and the doubts and the fears and the mistakes. Who when you get together talk about any and everything as if everything matters and nothing matters. Where football and music can be as holy as family and theology. You can walk for hours talking about doubting a literal creation or questioning how the canon was put together without them having a doubt about your walk and relationship with God or them. They are interested in your marriage and your life stuff and do not give a hoot if you do stuff or not. A band of brothers or sisters who just love to spend time together eating, drinking, laughing, crying, being. Not creating programmes but living life. Life, that is what friends are for.
Dancing to who’s Tune?
There are some who would say you are dancing to the devils tune, others would say you are dancing to your own tune, but the journey is just about tuning in and being in tune. I have learnt many things over these seven years, some of those things good, others not so good, but one thing that keeps the heart pumping and the hope springing eternal is that whatever God is in and through all things. When I discovered that He did not do a runner at my lowest moment in a hotel room I realised that whatever I tried to create of my life He was intrinsically part of it. It was not about pleasing Him because He was pleased. It was not about obeying Him as my ruler it was about knowing my Friend would always want to hang out with me no matter what. He wanted to play ball even if I’d totally blown the day. Every day is not an opportunity to live for Him but hang out with Him and be. He is just as at home with me listening to Muse and Elbow as He is if I played Jesus Culture. He was as blessed with me watching Game of Thrones as He was when I was watching Veggie Tales. He loves being part of a day in the park with my family as much as He loves to be with my as I blog. There is a continual deep crying out to deep going on and I just love the roar of His waterfalls and the still cool water.
Back to the Future.
So what of the next seven years? I honestly have no vision of where I want this all to go, I am no longer building anything. I will spend time with folk and enjoy their company, believers and doubters equally. I will not try to convert anyone but will share my life, my experience, my story, if that helps to connect someone with the God who is already involved in their lives that is fine, if not that is fine too. It is not about scalps. I will walk with those who want to walk with me, I will wander aimlessly with others, I will eat, talk, pray, not pray, whatever, whenever, but always trying to be real. Creating spaces for honest talk and debate. A safe place where nothing is wrong and nothing is fully right. Where respect is given and received whatever is shared. Love the account of the Inklings who met without order or structure to just read stories of fiction that had a shard of truth. C.S. Lewis and Tolkein were a part of this group and stories full of light and dark poured out from those times that still touch people today. Just friends meeting to drink, eat and share story. What more to life is there? I have an inkling there is something in this. Whatever the journey and wherever it does or does not go life is there to be lived and taken. My feet can stay as itchy as they like as the years go by I want to always walk in the contradictions of being back for the future.