This year we planted a garden. Last night I cleaned and reorganized my vanity. Sometimes I sit on the Sellwood Bridge on a bench overlooking the river and watch the birds dance in the air as one of my favorite songs plays on my iPod and the warm evening breeze lifts my hair off my neck. I am celebrating that life is good and I am happy. That hasn’t always been the case.
In this work we do as church planters, we get reminded at every training and in every book that it is a very hard thing to start a new faith community. Sustainability, the pressure to succeed, the vulnerability to reach out to new people, all can take a huge toll. Over the course of our time here at Sellwood a lot of various factors led me to a place where I was not okay, but muddling through. Luckily I am surrounded by people who know how hard life can be and who remind me of the wholeness God promises to us in sabbath rest and in loving ourselves. Through things like questions on the quarterly report I send to the regional church to the support of my community I have been able to recognize just how much I was struggling and I was able to ask for help. This past year I feel like I have been coming back to myself.
This journey has been a rich one, and while we always long to not endure suffering, I think that I am so much stronger, better, wiser, and more able to handle my life because of this road I have been on over the past few years. Maybe the best thing I learned is that things can be difficult and I can be in places of deep struggle and unhealth, but that is not the end of the story. It is hard work, harder than church planting, to claim life anew and find peace. I am so very thankful for all the things in my life, including a great therapist and the snazzy chemical aid of citalopram which have helped me to once again have the energy and capacity to really live my life.
If you are struggling, I hope you know that there is light and life for you too. If you are happy I hope you find was to celebrate that often.
Here’s my favorite song for watching the birds and pretty much everything else too.