Okay, now I am ready to write the post I have been waiting to write but needed more time and clarity.
In one of my videos I shared yesterday, you saw me in real time realize I am taking my second flight ever post having kids with Jaime Clark-Soles (both flights with her) and it is at the exact same time I traveled with her in 2019 when we went to Washington DC. I traveled with her at the end of April right before I started seminary in 2019, and at that time she worked with me on the nerves I was feeling about starting school again and feeling holy unqualified—even though she did not completely understand me (how could she? I had no idea how deep it went beyond normal nerves) she never gave up on me. I made her work all 3 years. LOL!
Now look at us in 2022. We have been through a lot together. When we are together, no matter what is happening in the world, we find a way to have fun and to play. And have an intellectual conversation, but that is included in fun. When we were in DC, she was debating on going to bed that evening this picture was taken. I told her to rebel with me and play. I never get to sight see or travel. I love our side-by-side photos. We bring out the joy in each other.
Now for my theological reflection. It is not a coincidence I was sent by my church, Wilshire Baptist Church, to Washington DC in a year Trump was in office. Donald Trump is a big reason my whole entire life changed. What I thought was, wasn’t anymore. I had to figure out how to navigate in a world I no longer recognized. That journey led me to hear scripture differently and fall in love with it. Then I had to figure out how to experience the power of scripture with a community that would allow the kind of dialogue our time and place needed with our scripture. I found Wilshire and then Perkins School of Theology – Southern Methodist University.
In 2019, the home in our beloved picture is not a home for me. Nor would it welcome me in freely. Here I am about to graduate in 2022 and Jaime, this time in Houston, is helping me clarify what it is that I really want to do when I graduate. My nerves are not nearly what they were in 2019, even with my uncertainty, but it was hard for me to answer her b/c I do not feel the doors are open for me yet. Or, I cannot see where they are open at this moment to do what I want to do. Jaime told me I need to give breath to what it is that lights the fire in my belly (she used different words, but this is a good summary).
When I walked into Covenant Baptist church (An ecumenical liberal Baptist congregation—the only one of its kind in Houston—may this change soon) I felt like I was at home. I could not stop taking pictures. It smelled like a church too. My senses were going wild with the gardens, the butterflies, the smells, and all the fun books and stuff the pastor keeps. Look at the Mr. Rogers candle and the Jesus mug. Mr. Rogers is the pastor who raised me as a child. The one who told me every day he loved me b/c I am me. It took to the age of forty-four to realize how important those words were for me to hear on the daily. The Jesus mug. Ha! yep, as I am studying scripture more and more, I realize most do not know Jesus’ words at all.
JCS and me in 2022, that place does feel like a home. JCS noticed the shift in me too when I entered the building. The art that is on the wall in the sanctuary—the dove with the olive branch, that was placed on the wall the night Trump was elected as resistance.
I have no words to describe this surreal experience. From leaving home to where I am now, with little idea of what is next. But I realize God heard me and God still hears me. Build a home, plant a garden, eat good food, laugh, notice the smells, and have a dialogue that people notice because it brings hope and peace in an era of unrest and anxiety.