“NOW what?” I remember the question from parishioners and colleagues when I knew I needed to leave a life of being pastor of a local church, after serving from July 1978 until July of 1996 – 18 years. “Trust God!” was the true answer, the one I lived by, but that was not enough for my inquisitors. “Where will you live? How will you pay the bills? What will you DO?” Stepping out of local church work, never did I feel abandoned by God, though I sometimes had no clue what or where I’d be 30 days ahead. I learned to await answers arising when needed.
Again the question comes: Now what?
“Are you coming home?” Where is home? Oregon. “What will you DO?”
NOTE: Why the question? Previous brenbit.blog posts will reveal my current ‘appointment to ministry’ as companion/ sister/ advocate with my youngest brother, Roger. He moved into long term care in June of 2017; I moved into a nearby apartment to support him. It has been/is a year of discovery about family and relationships, wounds and patterns, resiliency and asking for support when needed. Roger’s ALS progressed quickly and he died April 23 in deep peace. My lease in central Indiana is up the end of July and I will next take up residence for the next year in River- my 20 ft Roadtrek Chevy Van.
My answer: Travel & Serve & Hide
TRAVEL In June I was in Highlands, NC at a writers retreat with women in ministry from the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA. July 4 for a week, I was in Newport, Oregon, tending my rented home in Toledo, while visiting friends and favorite restaurants.
August 15, I begin traveling in the Appalachian Mountains, then to Boston and New England and back to Indiana. I will be immersed in Spanish-learning in Mexico the end of October. Thanksgiving to Christmas I shall be in Florida. Then, I assume, I shall drive westward across the southern states.
SERVE I have an ongoing Lover’s quarrel with the United Methodist Church, yet am blessed by finding Beloved Community often connected to the UMC. Hence, I will be a witness / support for participants at the 2019 United Methodist General Conference for three days in February, in St. Louis, in ministry with RMN and LYNC.
Immigrants – especially those from south of these United States — have called for my attention. Learning some basic Spanish seems a necessary step toward listening to migrants.
NOMADS (Nomads On A Mission in Divine Service) is a UMC group, providing Volunteer Service at various sites around the USA in trade: 3 weeks of RV site for 6 hrs per day, 4 day/ week service. I’ll be at Lake Junaluska NC over Labor Day & Clermont FL between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
HIDE Hiding is a way of staying alive….. of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. … Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future … …wrote poet David Whyte in “Hiding”
This is the hardest and yet essential element of River (Van) Living. Sitting or walking or paddling on paths preserved as National Parks. Just being, hiding in plain sight or not. Moving slow enough to wonder as I wander: take photos, paint glimpses, write blogs.
Given the UMC and USA politic and the encampments, hiding is a way of staying alive to Hope, to Wonder, and to the Holy. Blogs will be written as witness to broken-ness which is always is where the light gets in and communion is possible. Or blogs will point to the Holy/Love -present incarnate, as Jesus announced “God-with/within-us”.
God surprised me with beauty today, on a bike ride. Pink and purple morning glory climbing pink and purple over tall rows of corn. Remembering the feast of humid head-grown sweet corn and fresh tomatoes. In these days, I am taking leave of the friends and family who have been the holy help with skin on in this place called Indiana.
Join me in your own version of traveling, serving and hiding!