How long 'til my soul gets it right?

How long 'til my soul gets it right?

This line from the Indigo Girl song, Galileo, has been going through my mind lately, although probably in ways that the Indigo Girls never intended.

I needed to rename my podcast.

The problem was, just a couple of episodes before I'd introduced my new podcast, changed because of a shifting focus in my online work. I was keeping this new focus (Christians who are seeking, struggling and sometimes straggling along) but my first title wasn't quite there.

It was right enough to get me started, but not quite right enough for the long haul. I liked the new name (Community of Holy Stragglers) very much. But I worried.

I worried what people would think. I worried that I'd be dismissed as flighty or unable to make up my mind. I worried that people would think that I screwed up with my first title, that I didn't get it right.

(I realize that none of you were losing sleep over my podcast name, but bear with me here.)

I finally realized that I had a choice. I could go with the new name that seemed like the right name to me. I could own up to my process and move ahead. 

Or I could stay stuck in my fear.

Maybe some of you can start relating to me at this point. Fear keeps us stuck in lots of places. As I write, that's not an entirely bad thing because the fear of experiencing a pandemic up close and personal for us or for our loved ones is keeping us stuck at home.

That's a good thing.

Lots of times, however, the ways in which fear keeps us stuck aren't such good things. We don't pursue the work that we really want to pursue because of what people will think. When I was in seminary some of us used to joke that Mama had called as many preachers there as God. We saw guys who there without any particular sense of rightness for ministry except the fact that Mama had always known that they should be one. (At that time women were spared from such expectations.)

We don't leave the church we're in or find the church we need for fear of what people will think. (The very real grief of such moves is a subject for another time.) We don't ask the questions we long to ask for fear of what people will think.

My mother was estranged from her "ladies only" Sunday school class. During a time when she was consumed with caring for her mother, she happened by the class on a weekday and saw her name on the bulletin board as one of their "lost sheep." Needless to say, she made herself good and lost after that. 

Their church was starting a couples class for folks their age, and many of their friends were becoming a part of it. My mother talked to my father about joining. My dad had one question.

"Will they let me ask the kinds of questions that I want to ask?"

My father thought deeply about faith, and enjoyed considering thought-provoking questions. Faith mattered enough to him for him to wrestle with it, even when the outcome of that wrestling wasn't a given.

How long 'til my soul gets it right?

We can hold ourselves back and beat ourselves up because we didn't get it "right" enough the first time of the hundredth time, or that at this point in our lives we're still trying to figure out what it getting it right looks like. Like, shouldn't we know by now?

We can worry about what people would think if they knew the questions and lamentations and occasional obscenities we direct towards God in the night because nothing in our lives or in our world seems right.

We can worry about who people think we are, and if they think that we're not measuring up.

Or we can take the next step, the best step that  we have based on the best we can see and know in this moment. It may be the right step. It may be the right step for now.

It may be a kind of holding space between what was and what shall be. 

But here it is

and here we are

and on some days at least,

we can trust that God is here as well.








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