So today is this tenth anniversary of Jonathan and I arriving in Richmond. It has been an amazing ten years. We came so I could pastor a community gathered in faith (he gave up his good career in New York and came with me to start a new life, even learning to drive).
I came not knowing very much about pastoring a church, but thinking because I had a seminary degree (and indeed a Ph.D. in theology in addition) and had been deeply involved in church most of my life and had been ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches–well . . . thinking because of all that I knew a lot. And lots of folks, because of those same credentials, thought so, too.
It took me longer than it should to get on my knees, admitting how little I knew, and beg for mercy. But eventually, after a couple of years of troubles and failures and way too many stupid mistakes, I did.
That’s when life got really interesting. And even good. There were still troubles and failures and stupid mistakes, of course–I did not become the perfect pastor even by the time I left the pastorate (there is no such a thing anyway)–but getting on my knees and paying more attention to what God was saying made a huge difference in how I dealt with all that, and indeed how I dealt with the successes and joys and brilliant moves that also happened.
Trusting God is the best antidote to whatever ails us. I am still learning this, day by day.
As I wrote recently, I am a pilgrim. And what a pilgrim must know, as Richard Rohr writes, is that “as long as we think happiness is around the corner, we have not grasped happiness. Happiness is given in this moment.”
The pilgrimage is here, wherever you are. I came to Richmond to learn that. I could have learned it in New York, but God had other plans. God called me home to Richmond. To Virginia.
So now I continue learning in Richmond, my hometown. Oh, I was not born here, so some natives would deny my use of the word “hometown.”
And as Rohr also says, ” . . . if you can’t find Jesus in your hometown, you probably aren’t going to find him in Jerusalem” either.
Thanks, Lord, I’m grateful to be home, and to share it with You, and Jonathan, and Cocoa, and a whole host of really fine folks (and more every day).