I have a bunch of bound journals that I write in quite often. Occasionally, I put a story idea in them but mostly I just write about what is going on my mind. I think through some of the more complex interactions that I have in a day and then revisit them and rewrite them until I can finally make some sense out of them. It seems to me that the more I tell a story in which I am a character, the more I am able to understand it. This is especially true if I take the time to tell the story from several different views.
I know that one of the journals contains about seven or eight writings about a tense meeting I had with my supervisor. The first writing was done to get down the facts as I remembered them. The second was done a few days later. I even chose red ink for that one because I was so mad, I was seeing red and wanted the story to be in red. The next time I wrote, I focused upon the furniture and other items in the room that people were using. That retelling of the story opened my eyes up quite a bit for it was in that story that I realized that I was not the only person nervous in the room. The way a water glass was used time and time again pointed out to me another person’s nervousness. The other retellings were, well, just me exploring what happened and where I could go forward. The last was a brief poem that will probably never see the light of day. I wrote in red again but when I was done, I have to say, I felt much better. I felt release.
Now, most of the things that I write in those journals will never meet the eyes of another reader. I didn’t write them for anyone else to read. I wrote them for me. So, for the most part, they will remain mine.
I also spend about twenty minutes each week standing before a group of people and sharing something about how the grace of Jesus Christ has been revealed to me through that strange combination of Biblical text and life. I write sermons every week and have the privilege of sharing them. I call it a privilege because I take great joy in writing these. To have a semi-captive audience listen to them each and every week is humbling to say the least. This writing is in a few different journals and occasionally even on my computer. (Don’t ask me why but I get much more joy out of using a pen and paper than I do at pecking away at a keyboard.)
And then there is this blog. This is not a place where I can sort out my conflicts and leadership plans. As a pastor, I think those things are best left between me, God and my journal. I also don’t think that this is a place where I can sort out my hopes and dreams for the church I serve. I have a platform for that.
No, “Not Quite Home” is about all those other times that grace is around me. Sometimes, it is about how I just noticed grace in some odd place. Most of the time it is in some very mundane place. It is also about those times that I didn’t so much notice grace, but grace “got ahold” of me. It is in all of these types of moments that I realize that I am not quite home. If I were home, they would happen all the time and I would not have to have myself shaken to notice them. These markers of the distance from home, however, are meant to be shared, so, you get to read them!
So…enjoy my glimpse of grace as they arrive. Welcome home! Or more precisely, welcome to that place that is not quite home.