It's been over 7 years since our family was part of a "real" church. I put the quotation marks around real for a reason. We've had church in different places and in different spaces in those 7 years.
First, we found a soft place to land in the house-church we were in for a season with fellow war-weary comrades also in the midst of a detoxification process. Those years were healing and safe and full of questions. I learned that questions were ok and that I didn't have to try so hard. My girls learned what it felt like to be part of a small intentional community and that their voices were important. Sometimes we shuffled, sometimes we walked steadily, other times we stumbled, but we kept moving forward.
In BC we found church in a different place. It was on the ski slopes on the mountains. It was in green rain forest cathedrals with air so rich and moist it filled your soul. It was on sandy beaches where ocean waves lapped against the shore and you couldn't speak for the beauty that surrounded you at every turn. It was on a school playground and in people's kitchens. It was in conversations on park benches and in hearing the voice of friends asking me the right questions. It was in being loved and accepted for who we were as we morphed and changed and found our rhythm.
This weekend we found church again. It happened while echoes of ancient liturgy were spoken and a candle was lit. It was when Mike picked up his fiddle and bow and I literally saw life coming back into the depths of who he is. I felt it while I watched my girls playing in the sticky white snow for hours while Mike laughed and crashed in a crazy game of broomball. It was in tickled feet and in a circle of Dutch Blitz being played on the floor. It was in the conversations around tables where I heard political conversations, scientific reasoning, literary quotations, personal stories, and differences. It's the differences, I think, that I liked the best. The willingness for differences to be embraced and welcomed. Not to be feared or buried.
As we drove away from the Saint Benedict's Table family camp this afternoon, the first words out of Sasha's mouth were, "I want to do that again next year". We all agreed.
It doesn't look like where I thought we'd be.
Not at all.
But if where I thought we'd be was a garment to be worn, it wouldn't fit anymore.
I wouldn't even be able to get the button done up.
This new garment fits pretty well. We're still turning around and checking it out to be sure it really fits and suits us. We're bending and stretching to see if it restricts our movement or feels all wrong.
Sometimes you have to try on something radically different to find the piece that was meant for you and the season you're in.