Thursday, July 28, 2016
As I pulled into the south Memphis bowling alley parking lot, the rain fell steadily - blanketing everything with a soft gray haze. To my melodramatic soul, it felt a fitting forecast.
In the back of my mind I thought that this would be the last time I dealt with rain for a while. (although any monsoon-enduring Phoenix dweller will tell you this isn't true)
I think I sighed heavily as I hustled inside... away from the rain, and away from the gray blanket of security. Now I had to face my friends - no - my family. We prided ourselves on our vulnerability and love for one another, but now I was finding that vulnerability to be uncomfortable.
How in the world could I tell these people how much they mean to me?
I resigned myself to the fact that I would never be able to, and instead focused on being present with them for the rest of the evening.
Since I can't bowl (wrist issues) I was the unofficial photographer of the evening. My goal was to capture the spirit and joy of community we had by just being together. This was the beauty of my time in a Christ City parish - no matter where we were or what we were doing, we were bound together by the blood of Jesus and our love for one another.
I loved to notice the sideways glances from other bowlers in our general direction. They weren't annoyed at us, but curious... we were just so happy.
As I interacted with each of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I realized that this really wasn't the end. My life was changed dramatically by the testimony and actions of these Christians, and there was NO way that our relationship would just cease to exist.
Sure it will be hard. Skype and FaceTime are not the same as a coffee conversation with a friend, but the whole point of my time with this beautiful and grace-filled church was this:
I am meant to take this West.
My time at Christ City Church healed me from bitterness, it set me free from my own doubt and standards, but it more than anything gave me a seed to plant in my own ministry.
This seed of love, of mercy, of grace, of justice is going to be crucial as I relocate in Arizona. How else can I see the lives of those around me impacted? I myself must love, must show mercy, must be gracious, fighting for justice.
So in the midst of the raindrops I find the beauty - I see this precious gift in front of me, and I know what I am to do now.
Thank you parish family for everything you've meant to me! Thanks for accepting me, showing me love, and rejuvenating my spirit as I head west into a new season of ministry!
This is not the end.
"No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is perfected in us." - 1 John 4:12