Thursday, August 04, 2016

It's personal

As I have so many times in the life of this blog, I find myself writing in the midst of another life change.  This time, despite a year ago swearing it would not happen again, we are once again moving ... changing residences ... new address, new neighborhood, even a new zipcode this time.  In reality it is only about a dozen blocks away, but I'm also a dozen months older than the last time, which was a dozen older than the time before, and a dozen older than the time before that.  At this point in my life, I can certainly physically feel it.  "I ain't as good once as I once was". This time though, not only is it felt physically, it's being felt emotionally and spiritually, with a weariness that I'm not used to.
Someone recently shared with me that it seems as if, quite possibly, the nomadic wandering is a cost, or a curse, of the path that we have chosen, specifically the path of planting a new community of Jesus followers in the core of a city.  Not just any city either ... one of the most expensive cities in the country.  Even beyond that, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in one of the most expensive cities in the country.  Something no one had ever shared with me is that, when you are perched on the financial edge of the sustainability cliff, and an unrelenting wind begins to blow, you will do whatever you have to do to give yourself even the slimmest margin of distance from the edge.  For u  this means continually searching for whatever relief that might be found in our cost of living.  Practically speaking, it has manifested in moving to less expensive living quarters.  After 3 years of moving for some relief here within this neighborhood, the cost has gone from ridiculous to obscene and we have no choice but to move or be swept over the edge by a wind that shows no signs of subsiding.  So comes the familiarity of moving, but this time with an accompanying emotional weariness that is unfamiliar.
It feels personal this time.  I'm trying to process these feelings with a dark blend and a chocolate croissant, while sitting here in the belly of the beast, otherwise known as Amazon.  To be fair, they are not "the" reason that things are so out of control here, but it certainly ranks in the top 3.  It's also the reason we chose this crazy pursuit.  We wanted to see what could happen to a neighborhood "without soul" if a group of Jesus followers invested themselves in its formation.  The jury is still out on that pursuit.  I think that it feels personal this time because we've given every bit of our comfort, every bit of our resources, and every bit of our being to living in and investing in this neighborhood, and without even a second thought, it has pushed us out.
On the surface I am trying to reassure myself that we are still here.  The church is still here.  Our work is still here.  We have relationships and influence ... we are involved.  Down deep though I am haunted with a feeling that its all just BS ... and I'm not referring to my undergrad degree.  I know that the most profound influence doesn't come from the outside, in a 9 to 5 or whenever I can get there sort of way.  The most profound influence is in the midst of living life within your context.  When God provided the solution in Jesus for all mankind, he didn't send a proclamation and he didn't do it from the outer realms of the spiritual world.  He sent Him here, to walk and talk, live and laugh, serve and heal those created in God's image. It's known as incarnation. It worked, it works, and yet, too often those who want to follow Jesus fail to model this.  At the moment I'm feeling some failure. 
Usually, I like to find some resolution in my writing.  It's not there today.  I'm sure it will come.  Plenty of people have offered consoling, well meaning thoughts and I've tried to lessen the feelings by considering the possibilities that may lie in the new neighborhood, new relationships formed, new paths set before us, blah blah blah.  I'm sure that there is all of that.  You may check back here in a week or so and life may be all roses and puppies again. If not, then certainly someday.  For now, God may still be God, Jesus may still be the answer, and the church may still be within His plan.  I'm just taking it a bit personally at the moment.