These days one needs an online presence, but a local community of recognition, acknowledgment and participation is as essential as food, water and sleep. OK, some kind of shelter from meteorological storms, though my earlier insistence it doesn't need to be a house, apartment, condo, or tent is correct. Without community a person dies. I want my life back. I need my life back.
Look back, take a long, soft glance? I be looking back yet *again* right now, taking a wistful, still cautious overview and remembering as well as possibly anyone can. So very well I know that it's not simply about the style of a parish, congregation, local church; the professional and lay leadership play a huge part in terms of inviting, not inviting, allowing and literally forbidding anyone's participation.
On one of the Thursday Ask The Matriarch – ATM – parish ministry advice columns, someone emphasized do not announce the pastor's or the pastor's wife's pregnancy as a petition in the intercessions! Many many people struggle silently with infertility and would not perceive it as good news—although on another level they would rejoice with you.
I've long been agonizing over a different kind of infertility, with soil prepared, seeds sown, rains given and received, shoots sprung up, all after a bleak long winter that apparently hasn't quite departed yet. I've written about spending time on the land and in the recurrent cycles of the liturgical year, and how they've helped me learn to trust death. To quote Ansel Adams,
Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood—children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.Without social context writing and creating has become close to impossible. A few years ago I told someone I was delighted that I got back to writing, and I know that happened because of the online theology forums I started participating in 10+ years ago. Right now my cry and my question is about how to find local community that will want to get to know me? It's not simply a matter of style; assumptions and insecurities of peeps who already are there come hugely into the picture. For sure the feeling and reality of "uprooted" tends to be in the late 20th, early 21st centuries, even for people who, unlike many of us, have lived in the same geographical place and in a similar culture.
It's one thing accurately to state most of the theology I do will be online, but real life is lived locally. The online stuff can be wonderful, but it's an addition to the real thing. Clearly I'm an idealist in some ways, but at this stage I am way far beyond seeking any semblance of ideal and happily will embrace a workable reality.