musings and whinings

The other day a friend asked me if I've made a lot of new friends at my new church.

Before I go on about that, though, I will show you the critter I saw on this week's dragonfly morning.

He (or she) was relaxing near our first open sunflower.

James has planted several sunny flowery varieties around the yard this year, so we'll see how they all turn out.

Now back to my friend's question. I carried it inside myself in a rather whiny fashion. I couldn't respond the way I wished, I felt, owing to the fact that my questioner is a dear friend from the "old" church. I was out helping her canvass neighborhoods during her campaign for state legislator. I am proud of her for running for office, and I did appreciate her kind concern regarding my recent doings.

I'm guessing there may have been pain in the question, too. Maybe I ought to interpret her words as saying, "Are you happy, Deanna, after making that choice to go find other friends? Were you really so tired of us that you had to leave? Or do you sometimes wish you would have stayed with us?" Surely I should have asked her right then if that's what she meant.

Not long ago, I listened to a recording made last summer at a Gutenberg seminar. The speaker (who was responding to another speaker) said Gutenberg is a place where a person can make a statement to the group like this: "Hey, I believe stuff; it's like this....Now, anybody wanna make fun of me for it?" His implication was that then reasonable dialog would ensue.

It's a very good wish. I've learned there are many reasons why it can only rarely happen. For me, a big reason it didn't was my inability to articulate what was going on when I left. But I did give it a really good try with several people, including the dear friend I volunteered for the other day. Dialog did not happen, because, well, my friend had no interest in my turn to Orthodox Christianity. My move had to have hurt her. It had to feel like rejection.

From my end, I came to recognize something I've never related to before. Why a woman might blog about her first marriage's end and afterward the discovery of another love, superior to the first. Yet she still aches for the marriage she lost. I hadn't understood such a story until the past few years happened.

I also had never thought in a certain way about what Jesus said regarding a man who discovered treasure buried in a field. The man went and sold everything to obtain that field. I had always loved the story, the treasure-finding. But I hadn't thought so much about the selling.

I wonder now if the man started out thinking he might need to sell a few things, maybe even most of his stuff. But then came the realization: it all had to go, or there was no way to possess the treasure, the thing of such value as he had never dreamed existed. Of course he did it. He had to. I can hear him explaining to an incredulous friend (who is reasonably saying, Why are you being so foolish?). He stammers, "I can't express it; if only you'd been there. You'd know. I--I gotta go."

If I help my friend some more with her campaign, I hope to express to her that I didn't leave her and all my other friends because I was seeking new ones. The ache is still strong, the grieving of the loss of our dialog, of connection beneath the surface. If I hadn't had to leave with every fiber of my being, I wouldn't have.


Fresca said…
Wrenching as it is, could it be that leaving a comfortable place when it no longer fits is part of the "getting of wisdom"?

"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom:
and with all thy getting get understanding." --Proverbs, IV, 7.

I think one of the strengths of the Bible is the way the stories display their different meanings as we move through life--like, they just keep standing there, solid, and we move around them, bringing their different aspects into view.

Now what we do with those views, whether we manage to get wisdom from them, that's a different story.
It looks to me like you are in the process...
deanna said…
Wonderful insights, Ms. Fresca! Thank you for them. I love your picture of the solid stories standing there as we move around them, viewing different aspects.

And yes, it has been wrenching to leave, because I was comfortable. You're not the first to point that out to me. I really miss, and hunger for, talking about faith in God to women friends. The stories, the relationships, the connections. That was fun and comfortable, especially when we shared the same reference points, the same perspectives on the aspects of those Bible stories. Yet there is a greater richness, I find, in communicating with someone who shares a differing view or two or three, as uncomfortable as it may be to "go there".

Marianne Elixir said…
Love this, Deanna.

I have long neglected blog-reading, but I am glad I caught this piece tonight. You express so much of the difficulty of living intentionally and honestly.

And, for what it's worth, I have always understood your need to pursue Orthodoxy. Though I still have my own reservations regarding Orthodoxy, I have no reservations in understanding the need to follow a call, even if it only makes sense to oneself.
deanna said…
Hello, dear Marianne.

As one who also neglects blog reading, I had no idea Blogger decided I must moderate your comment. Thanks for your genuine warmth and care, which I've always appreciated.

One of my gifts now is the difficulty in not being on the same page with friends like you. This was needed, obviously, or God wouldn't have put it in my life, for my benefit. Thanks for reading.