tomorrow marks sixty days since i quietly drove away from east texas and pastorship in the united methodist church. the path before me was foggy, both literally (there was actual heavy fog!) and figuratively (how long will i be in colorado? is this relationship too good to be true? where will i work?).
it was my intention to write about this transition long before now–i have a half-written post entitled “leaving through the front door” (the title a loving nod to all of you church-metric lovers and haters out there) that and several drafts of photo essays of my pilgrimage from east texas to the roaring fork valley in colorado, of the beauty that is winter here and the start of a new masters program.
instead of those things (for now) you get this: some musings on being told you’re brave and wondering how to turn bravery into dollar bills.
it was both a hard and a simple choice to withdraw from being methodist clergy. there was a lot of discernment, many conversations, some tears and hugs and hand holding–but i knew it was right. for now i will spare the details, suffice it to say the largness of the institution was quickly becoming a weight i could no longer bear.
in releasing that ballast, i have found a deeper peace and happiness than i have ever known.
when i spoke with collegues and friends, parishoners and even aquanitences about my decision to begin again outside of the church i was frequently met with the unexpected phrase: “you are so brave.” even now, when meeting new people and telling my “how did you get to the valley? this graduate program?” story, i am met with: “you are so brave!”
from the official “i cannot do this any more” phone call, to the dog and i pulling away from the parsonage was exactly fourty-eight days–one sunday into advent. i liquidated the bank, asked for help funding the moving costs and coasted into the valley i now call home, full of hope and love and excitement for this next phase. i felt a little brave–driving out into the unknown and hoping for the best.
looking back, i know i still made the right choice–and have the deepest of peace about it.
i’m not sure if it matters if making a leap was brave–i can tell you that bravery doesn’t pay the bills (nor does an MDiv!)–and i am not sure if it is bravery or tenacity driving me to stay the course and let the downy softness of love and peace envelop me when the pennies are dwindeling. one cannot survive on love and kindness alone, but it sure is good fuel to keep working, to keep looking, and to keep hoping.