Swinging doors and celebrate me home…..

So why,  in the wild, wild beauty of this sweet breath of God,
is church even a thing?

I remember the way my soul drew up taller when the couple climbed from their car
to meet us in the field where we used to play like banshees until the organ began to play.
They were our Sunday school teachers,  and had arrived to be here on a Saturday afternoon
for something that I don’t now remember.
It didn’t matter – they had come and we were together,
all the other kids and I,
and when the husband grabbed my hands and swung me playful like a ragdoll,
the music of that smiling gesture landed
firm that I belonged.

Here in this place where the music rolled out rich like Sunday dinner to call us all inside,
I felt more than bone and birthday and bottom lines
to the One who threw open doors that let me tumble giggling on the lawn.
We were -all of us – invited and so the belonging ran deep
like a river running through
and  i ran free for as long as believed it.

To have once belonged like this is a treasure stored and I hold it dear
even as the welcome mat seemed sharp withdrawn from the place where i felt my truest
and I have it always, the option to stay mad and serve up blame and why couldn’t they see
that my bad behavior was a howl of pain
and not a slot marked “damaged” where I felt neatly filed.

But I couldn’t see my own truth so how can I bring the gavel down.
The whole,  “So what if i don’t fit;  I still belong,
would take me decades to learn to hold.
Maybe they never held it for themselves,
and in the end I found the door and safer pasture.

Many doors later,  I find myself drawn still to those dotted,  grazing hillsides
for the very and only reason that I love the whole community thing.
Really,  really love it when it works  – when it’s inclusive
and supportive and accepting and come on in – the stuff of home
and togethering and chairs pulled up close around the table and celebrated joy
and circle the wagons in our grief and,  yes,  dysfunction because it’s family,
but fumble on and forward fall and figure it out because we’re for each other and we’re what we’ve got.
And there’s shared hilarity in even this.

Yeah,  it’s the shared part that I love,  even as my love for independence dances rowdy
on the graves of ways that have died.
To be curious together.  Vulnerable together.  Knitted together strong
and yet each thread celebrated
for it’s own unique flavor and shade.
This is the stuff of riches.

So i haven’t given up on “church” because I love so hard the hope of a local community
that is bigger and more diverse than anything that I could build alone.
The risk it seems I have to take to go there – to move toward connection,
is worth the pounds of fear I have to lose each time
I draw near and get real.

“A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.”
– Mary Karr

“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family.  Or more happy.
Or more exasperated.  Or more…….secure.”
– Jim Butcher

If you follow along and read the words I write down here,   you have my everloving thanks!
I appreciate the time you take and hold that dear.
Thanks for coming along this Summer on this journey of a small-ish series.
I appreciate your company so:)

A little video I made for you…….



  1. Elephants Child on July 20, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Love the phrase ‘salt and sizzle of lving’. So much.
    Wishing you sunshine, rainbows – and growth. Always. And dancing with joy.

    • jennifer on July 22, 2017 at 6:53 am

      Joy and much salt and sizzle to you, Sue:)
      Just so much:) With big thanks!

  2. Robin aka on July 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    You are so amazing. The two quotes about family couldn’t be any more perfect. And I’m sure MANY of us will be able to relate.

    JOY, JOY, JOY! May we all find safer pastures…💛

    • jennifer on July 22, 2017 at 6:52 am

      Thanks for coming by, Robin – big JOY to you:)
      Yes to love and joy and safe pasture:)

  3. ladyfi on July 22, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Gorgeous shots! We can find shared love and joy in many different ways.

    • jennifer on July 22, 2017 at 6:51 am

      Thanks, Fi:)
      And so very, very true, that.
      Grateful for the whole bouquet of ways to do community:)

  4. jeanie on July 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

    OK, it didn’t show up. I commented yesterday but was having all sorts of computer problems so I didn’t know. All I can say is that I just love all you do, say and share. It resonates to the core.

    • jennifer on July 26, 2017 at 11:37 am

      Computer problems – oh how i understand:/
      I appreciate – so very much – the time you take to come by and have a read
      and then write down your thoughts. It warms me so good:) Thank YOU:)

  5. Kathy on July 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    THAT . I’m speechless.
    Thank you for that.

    • jennifer on July 26, 2017 at 11:36 am

      So my pleasure, Kathy:) With joy:)

  6. Barbara Shallue on July 25, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    This is so true. I feel a church community is important for the support and strength it can provide, but there’s a danger of exclusion and pride and hurt feelings… just as in any family. Forgiveness and understanding are even more important. Prayers for you that you find your ‘family’. xoxoxo

    • jennifer on July 26, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Yep, always the risk and the hurt. Always. Such a paradox. The two running alongside together.
      I love what Anne Lamott says, “Earth is forgiveness school.” So true with community!
      And, whoops, I must’ve mis-communicated because I’m in a good place now where I feel that I have that ‘family’
      – always it’s a growing and learning process because i have such a skittish habit of bolting and running
      or avoiding altogether when the living gets sticky. The sticky comes with the sweet, I’m learning, learning.
      Always learning:) Sorry if i didn’t say clear:)
      Thanks for joining the conversation – i love your perspectives and your heart to share!

  7. Susan on July 28, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    “so what if I don’t fit in … I still belong”. Been working on this for forever and I do thank you for your strength and devotion to making it right in your world and sharing it all so nicely cause it does help so much.

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