Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sell-out or Worn-out?

As we are now in limbo, living with friends back in our home town of Franklin, TN, I walk around doing the slow-Southern-daily-life-thing with great existential questions running around in my brain at warp speed. What are we doing with our lives? What do we want to do? Is it really about what we want? What is God calling us to? Is there really such a thing as a unique call or do we all just get the general call to love God and each other during whatever journey we are handed?

I kind of thought we made a decision to trust our minimal understanding of these questions and head back home.  We loved life in the city: the grit, the culture, the cleaning out of some cob-webbed parts of our brains where Southern culture allowed us to collect dust. We lived where we were needed. Why should all the people with resources-financial, social, systemic, and otherwise- congregate in the cozy neighborhoods while those without voices are crammed into the dirty spaces left in between? 

One of our reasons for going into the city was pictured in a metaphor that many urban missionaries are drawn in by: if there was a tree fallen in the road and 9 people were carrying one side and only 1 on the other, which side would you go to? That made sense to us. We wanted to help on the side that needed it. The city-side. Lets face it, it is easier to love your neighbors if they dont really need anything from you. So, we chose the city and could barely imagine ourselves ever wanting to return to our quaint Americana village of Franklin, where all those helper-outers were. 

But, after much emotional angst and equally emotional prayer, we decided that after 5 years in Philly, we would move home. Im not sure if it was our desire to live out the next season of life close to my family overshadowed our desire to be a conduit of change in the world that led us to our decision. (I hope not) But, I think it was a mixture of many things that when parsed out seems to not make that much sense. Is is about not wanting to raise my kids in the city, filled with danger and the unknown? (Philly is one of the leading cities in numbers of murders, but also has a phenomenally diverse population with rich history and culture.) Is it because life in the ministry was stressful and I wasnt sure if my not sleeping well had to do with that, living in the city or just my age? (I am getting older and I think my mom doesnt sleep well either).  I dont have a great reason, but I think I decided that it was okay that I didnt have a perfectly wrapped answer. It just felt like time to come home. Right or wrong. Good or bad. Sell-out or just plain worn-out. 

Dave reminded me often (in my most angsty moments) that at the end of the day, God was still in control. His world was not going to fall apart if we made the wrong choice. His will for our lives wasnt going to be thwarted by our moving. God is still God, whether in Philly or Franklin. (Those are the moments when I most clearly remember why I married Dave.) Although it sounds awfully oedipal, Dave reminds me of my dad. Just a few weeks ago, when the buyers of our house found out that their mortgage fell through for the second time, Dad told me to not bother Jesus by praying about it. "He's asleep at the back of the boat. Its all under control. If he's not worried about it, neither should you." Not exactly the most solid theology ever preached (I mean, whoever heard of someone preachin' that you shouldn't pray), but its faith-filled simplicity comforted me. Yeah, if Jesus isnt worried, why should I? 

My goal of writing this post was to maybe help myself out of my current angst ridden brain and back into sanity. My questions are still not answered really, but my heart is calmed. Where will we live? Where will we work? What should we invest our time in? Who should we reconnect with? Can we change the world from here? What if we end up just caring about soccer season and making fruit tea for Cousin Mae's baby shower? Shhhh. Details. Details. Jesus is napping.