It’s a new year. And…we are still homeless and unemployed.
Confession: there are days when the anxiousness awakens me…and it’s only after two cups of coffee and some intentional breathing do I settle into an okayness. The “I am nothing but who I am” realization haunts my imagination. So embedded in my life was the desire for comfort and position that even after 15 months of choosing to resign from both…the affects are still daily present. The shame of incompleteness, feelings of failure, and an overwhelming sense of incompetence are present everyday. To even write those words raises my heart rate with prideful worry that it gives ammunition for others to gloat about our plight.
Thanks for hearing my confession; for it is the reality of many days. While that confession of my feelings is true, our situation of “homeless and unemployed” is only partially true. We live in a shared household economy. It is a beautiful narrative of grace that we are reminded of with every shared meal and restful night. The sporadic income we are earning is enough for our daily needs. Truly, we have more than enough, but that truth has yet to transform our imaginations. It requires a daily reminding of our daily enough-ness. So, when I awake anxious; I choose non-anxiousness; and seek to walk gallantly through the day.
Such is the path of faithfulness: resist, relinquish, receive.
Last week our family shared a meal with Walter Brueggemann. I feel odd when I talk about our friendship, it is certainly undeserved on my part, but has been an incredible gift in my life. As we caught up on stories regarding our farm progress and our current community/faith practices, I asked WB if he had “a word” for our children. He paused for a moment, looked at Samuel and said, “Sam, the way we’ve been doing church isn’t working. This is the time to be trying new ways. Faithfulness will lead us. Faithfulness is what you are seeking. And faithfulness requires getting out of the rat race.”
If there is a single word to describe our family’s daily motivation…faithfulness is the word. The desire for faithfulness led us to resign from vocational ministry; the pulling of faithfulness leads our journey toward an agrarian life; faithfulness is our calling.
Faithfulness is the “slow and persistent revolution” of our daily lives.* Faithfulness requires an awakening from the slumber of consumption and a resistance to the propaganda of pride and power. Faithfulness practices presence. Faithfulness humbles. Faithfulness loves.
I agree with Stanley Hauerwas when he says, “The church seldom wills herself to be faithful. Faithfulness is more likely the result of necessity.”* This was our story. And I sense it will be the story of the Church as she enters what appears to presently be a new era of reformation. We don’t simply choose faithfulness…somehow Faithfulness chooses us.
Our prayer these days is simple. Ironically, it is included in the section of the Book of Common Prayer titled “Prayers for Use by a Sick Person.” This is our healing prayer…
This is another day, O Lord. I do not know what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me do it patiently. If I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
*Stanley Hauerwas, Approaching the End, p 82.