I've learned that in order to feel like one has had a holiday, one needs to leave home, to get as far away from home as possible. So we left the country -- both the homestead and the nation -- for a week and relaxed and did nothing, which turned out to drive me crazy but was a good lesson: I will no longer complain about how busy I am.
As soon as we touched down on the tarmac at the airport, the butterflies fluttered in my stomach then my mind started to spin about what I'm doing on Sunday.
I'm leading the service at a country church.
This is both a return and a beginning. For ten years, I wrote a column for The United Church Observer and now I'm writing a column for this local community paper. My upbringing and my experiences are influenced by church and spiritual writings, by music and books, by observation and experience. Lately I've been feeling like I have more to say, some specific things to say, and the place to begin is the church. A church, a small church.
Since I update the church notices for the paper, I knew that the River Philip pastoral charge does not have a minister at the moment so I offered myself as a guest speaker. I forgot, however, that in rural areas with dwindling numbers in the congregations, the expectation is to to create an entire service, not merely whip up a 10-minute reflection. So I accepted the challenge.
Really, I couldn't turn it down. In many Christian churches, the first Sunday of January is Epiphany Sunday, when we hear about the visit by the magi. The themes are light and journey and epiphany. Those are so my things. Been there, done that, have the ideas to talk about. Bursting out like chicks from eggs. Really, this was not the challenging part.
It was such a delight to write a reflection that included several significant moments in my life from the past ten years, moments that saw me head east, following my heart, going towards what makes me happy (best advice EVER), and realizing that I had become separated from the stars.
Dis-aster. Just as Madeleine L'Engle said.
It's all about the journey. But the destination -- here, right here -- was worth the drive.
Speaking of which...What am I talking about? Find out, this Sunday morning, 10:30 am, at the Millvale United Church, on the Thompson Road. To make this journey: Take the Thompson exit, #7, and head in the direction opposite to the gas station. Turn left then down the road, hang left over the train tracks. Keep going. Just when you think you could be lost...the church will be there on your right. Have faith! You'll find it.
I'd tell you to follow the star but it doesn't always work quite that neatly. That's the fun of a journey. Getting there. Even after writing this reflection, I know I'm still travelling.