When I was little, I dreamt of living in Africa. I felt called to give my life away, to spend myself in love for Jesus and this world He loves. I wanted to follow Him to the place where pain and beauty meet, where His passion comes to life in my daily reality. And in my childhood imagination, such a calling happened “out there.” The other, the exotic, the unknown was where I felt I must be if I were to lay hold of this adventure of love.
When I was little, the thought of working in "a regular old church" would have depressed me. But today, I have a different perspective. I have a different perspective because week after week I see the kids who fidget in the pews and the gray-haired saints who raise their hands during worship and I realize the beauty of a place that holds together the energy of new life and the wisdom of the ages; I see the marriages that have been saved through the tears and prayers of the saints and realize there’s a Power here that accomplishes the impossible; I look at my new friends who've come to know Jesus in the last year, bold in their new belonging and I realize the glory of a family table that will never run out of room.
Today I have a different perspective because week after week I realize, adventure is here: in the real, messy, ordinary life of the local church. The chance to give my life away is here: in the raising of a child, the counsel of a friend, the serving of a neighbor, the comfort of a widow. Pain and beauty meet here: in the joy of a baptism and the grief of a funeral. And daily, His passion is here: in the faces, the stories, the lives of these precious, ordinary people.
I dreamt of Africa, which is a good place to be. But God gave me a parish— and I’m so thankful He did.