it was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole.
― Rupi Kaur
I am not quite sure how I got so fortunate.
Why are we surprised by joy?
Do we believe we are undeserving?
Or maybe we have been in the weeds for so long joy is unrecognizable.
I suppose it’s all true.
I remember all the Christian-ese books about joy lining the bookshelves. They were so common it seemed to my young self that joy was a given.
While I am a joyful person by nature I am surprised by the kind of joy that shakes me to the core, that surprises me in a brief moment of recognition, of weightlessness, and deep humility.
Last weekend we had our first Left Hand Church retreat. Retreats are not foreign to me. All the serious Christians did them. And in my experience, the introverts worked too hard and the extroverts seemed effortless. And we all compared ourselves wanting to be different than we were. It’s a vicious cycle in church before you learn who you are.
But this retreat was different.
My breath caught in my throat. Heads bent over broken and repaired bowls, heartfelt talks in hushed tones, tears wiped away followed by hugs, raucous games with broken rules.
I felt something foreign and familiar with a touch of terrifying.
I wanted to bottle and contain the moments. We all know where that leads, don’t we? Control, fear, hoarding. The moments must be released back into the wild, to show up unexpected. A gift for future surprises.
It’s been an interesting year navigating the work of pastor. I am terrible at compartmentalizing, so most of the time what people see is what they get. I cannot be one way as a pastor, a different way as mom, another way as wife, and still another way as friend. I am all one in the same, with aspects of each shining when needed. I don’t know how to do this any other way.
And to take it in, to be all me – all friend, all wife, all mother, all pastor – I become integrated and whole.
Joy visited me.
I love our people. I love the celebration of life and hope. I love coming alongside. I love showing up as I am, knowing they minister to me just as much as I minister to them. There is no hierarchy. There is circular generosity and mutual feeding.
This is the farthest thing from the sinister and sin-filled system of patriarchy I think I have ever known in my lifetime.
Nothing is a threat. Brokenness is not a valid, nor is it an irreparable, state. Our presence with one another, our bodies in proximity, our hearts and guts and wombs all inform our wholeness. And as our fearless leaders Christy and Sarah reminded us, we can rest our minds for awhile. They have been far overworked for far too many years in our faith expression – and look where we’ve been – proving, striving, acting.
I was over the retreat business. But I am sold once again on beautiful expressions of truth. I am not talking about Biblical truth. What does that even mean? I am not talking about truth AND grace. Nope. I am talking about the truth of beauty, the truth of joy, the truth of community informing all of our neglected parts that know. My body knows. She knows and she is aflame with the fiery truth of Love.
Joy is present everywhere but first we have to be honest enough with ourselves to reach out for healing. Healing leads to our wholeness. Wholeness leads to knowing truth. Truth is not found in our minds. Truth is found in our bodies.
Our whole and holy bodies.