As a writer, the most difficult thing is the first sentence. There is something so intimidating about that initial spark of thought that must be put down into words. It is the beginning, it’s the attention grabber, it’s the moment that introduces the message, thoughts and feelings of the author to their audience.
This is true of everything. That first moment...it’s terrifying. Walking into class on the first day, stomach twisted. Getting ready for a first date, palms sweaty. Sitting behind the wheel of your first car, trembling. So many terrifying firsts.
I am at a first. I am terrified. My life has dramatically changed in the last 18 months. To go through the list of things that have been upended would take me a very long time, but through it all I have had a few stabilities, like having a job. Now, even that has changed. And as a result, another part of my life has also changed, my connection to my church home. So, not only am I facing several first moments, but I must also process my grief and sorrow for what is ending. Terror, pain, sorrow, anger, fear, excitement, joy, confusion, and so much more is just bubbling around inside of me. I’m on the precipice of so many firsts I do not know what to do. It’s like a tidal wave of emotion and change wanting to swallow me whole.
I’m about to start what I’m calling an ecumenical journey. I have many questions rolling around in my head. I grew up attending several different churches, but I never really had the opportunity to get to know anything about the churches. For one, I was very young and I was mostly interested in learning about God and I wasn’t thinking about denominational issues. Secondly, my parents had no interest in connecting with any singular church and so moving from one church to another was a way of giving me church while maintaining the distance from church that they needed for their peace of mind. Now I have this chance to go and really explore church life. I get to try and understand why if we are one body under one God, how we can we be so dramatically divided. What makes a Lutheran Lutheran? Why do Anglicans like their liturgy? What’s the difference between a Methodist and a United Methodist? Can God be found in all of these denominations or have we put too many human rules and dogma into our churches? These questions and so many more await me. The answers, I have a feeling, will beget more questions. There’s something truly remarkable about that, and something truly terrifying. The unknown. The unwritten. It’s the first sentence of the next chapter in my life. What will God and I write together?
Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.