Church

Sacred Space - Church on the Porch

Lily Belle is my familiar. She sits in on spiritual direction...especially when folks want to meet on the porch.

Lily Belle is my familiar. She sits in on spiritual direction...especially when folks want to meet on the porch.

When I was a child, I went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and Saturday night.

That is, my mom and I went to church; my dad never went.

My two brothers were done with church before they left high school. 

Not me. 

I was looking for redemption for all the things I couldn’t change. I've realized, all these years later, that I used to believe: If something isn't working, I must be doing it wrong. It never occurred to me that I was trying to earn the right to exist; I just thought I needed to

try harder. 

When I was a child, I only knew a Perfect God, and I was profoundly imperfect;

a merciless God when I desperately needed mercy;

a God without grace when I longed for grace to cover me, shroud me, heal me, shelter me. 

I ached for amazing grace. 

I needed a tender God; a God who could sit with a little girl reading a book up in a tree. Or sit on an old hot metal glider, the kind that made square marks on the backs of your thighs. I needed a God who leaned a head on mine and said, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

I needed a God who believed survivors. Who would sit with me on the porch. 

I spend quite a bit of time now, out on my porch.

Lily Belle with the old pots, before somebody knocked one off and taught me, again, about impermanence.

Lily Belle with the old pots, before somebody knocked one off and taught me, again, about impermanence.

I'm out there with Oscar and Lily Belle, two rescue cats with their own stories.

They're not trained to do anything but be themselves, and they’re very good at it.

They never cry the bitter tears of resentment because they are not dogs, or ponies. 

Oscar is very good at resting.

Oscar is very good at resting.

We sit together on this old porch in silent camaraderie, day after day. They’re small, but mighty in spirit.

I remember my grandmother telling me long ago: “It’s all love child. It’s all love.” Come to think of it, she told me that sitting in a glider swing on her front porch. We were stringing beans.

So here I am, Lord.

Out here on the porch. I’m on the swing near the old rhododendrons and the robin out back, urging her hatchlings to fly.

The old rhododendron, just outside the porch.

The old rhododendron, just outside the porch.