We didn’t go to church today.
I couldn’t tell you this for sure, but I think this is the first Easter morning I wasn’t in a pew. Ever.
40 years old and unsure about it all. Not older and wiser, just older and still taking this complex world in.
This morning I went out on my familiar route. I ran down my street and turned down the hill. I passed the riding stables and the horses in pasture. I crossed the main road and headed into farm land. A very still stream. The pungent scent of manure. Cows that just stare. A gravel path that spits rocks out under my feet. The same covered bridge and the same fields. Today, this was my Easter morning service. Just me and my burning legs, my gasping lungs and the sun shining straight into my eyes.
There was such a strong awareness of my surroundings today. I was aware that this would soon be a memory-these farms, vast fields and rolling hills. Aware that my family and friends were all in church while we went about a quiet morning at home.
It wasn’t good or bad, it just was. As strange as it felt to be out of church, it felt right. For now, this is where we are are and need to be.
Four months ago we decided it was time to take a break from the rhythm of life that we have always known. We wrapped up our responsibilities and talked to our close friends. No longer attending any church was a hard choice to make, but honestly- a very natural one. We have easily moved into a life without our Sunday morning walk up the steps and into those doors. Quiet mornings at home bring a calm that we needed.
I’m not worried about my faith or of God’s love for me. The Creator of Life and Love will always be- with or without my understanding. But I wonder about life and community and how we go forward. Moving makes it a little easier, but not having a church family to fall into is unsettling. But, it is.
This is not a step in the wrong direction. This is not the slippery slope that I was warned about. This is a move forward with my whole life, living into mystery and what is now. The poets of every age sing me into peace. They give words to the deep longings that continue to work themselves out into all that I do.
I listen to this road and to my pounding heart. I feel those feelings and these legs that are heavy and tired. Though I’ve not been exactly here before, somehow I know what to do. Don’t give up and never stop moving. Look around and take it all in.
Each step promises to bring me closer to home. Again and again and again.