On Sunday, I officially became the next settled pastor or The United Churches of Olympia in Olympia, Washington. The congregation welcomed me with a whole lot of dessert, partially cloudy weather (of which they had no control) and a lot of love. It is the right place for me and the place I’m looking forward to calling my spiritual home.
Over this past week, I have been on a mad dash to secure housing. More specifically: I hoped to buy a house but nothing was quite right for my particular taste. As I sit in the airport now, about to make my penultimate return home to Maine (as there will be one more trip to be with The Young Clergy Women Project in a few weeks), I’m thinking about when I moved to Maine. I’m remembering how uncertain I was about where I would fit in or how I could call this particular place home. I remember how the search committee showed me the various communities that thy thought might be home for me — but I picked another. I chose to live in a neighborhood that was in transition. When the economy took a turn two years into my call, that transition became more obvious but I had wanted to live there because it was the only place I saw actual people of color. It was in the city and I could walk to get milk or a glass of wine and that just seems to be how my single self is most comfortable. But, I remember this feeling. I remember this jittery feeling wondering how I’ll make friends and find a shelter that feels like home. Maybe it’s just part of the journey. Maybe you have to have that apprehension in order to find that rootedness that you so desire. Maybe it’s just how it goes, but I don’t like it. I want it to be easy. Arg! Why can’t it be easy?
Fine! I’ll somehow make this work by sending out church members (or the fantastic staff member that offered) to video chat my way through an apartment showing so I can have a place to unload my boxes in September. But it won’t ease my jitters. It won’t calm me down. I am way too much of a planner in that regard. In other ways, not so much. But this feels like a big loose end to have before I pack my boxes to drive across country. If you’re clergy, you know that there are already several offers from sweet church members who want to ease this tension. They will rent me the house they no longer call home. They will give me a place to land but my professional boundaries won’t allow that. So, I’ll be video chatting through apartment showings and moving twice. Insert profanity here. And yet, with all of these jitters, I know I’m going to the right place. I know that God has done something in this call that I have only glimpsed. And I’m grateful. I’m grateful God is calling me to this wonderful community. All of this nervous energy reminds me how holy this is.