6 06 2013

Sometimes, it feels like my living is getting in the way of my being!
The past two months have been extremely hard for me and my family. Life has been hectic and living has been exhausting. Leaving Stone House Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg, VA so that we might respond to God’s ‘calling’ to Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, VA meant that both my wife and I had to give up jobs that we loved. We had to say goodbye to friends who were like family, and a community that felt like home. Moving meant that we had to pack up a house that was full of our children’s elementary, middle, and high school memories; where countless birthday, graduation, holiday, and pool parties were held; and whose walls had embraced bountiful Thanksgiving dinners, joyful Christmas mornings, and hope-filled Easter brunches. It meant leaving behind favorite coffee shops, infamous ‘house dressing,’ ‘quirky’ gift stores, and long walks on DOG Street. We had finally lived in a place long enough to know the people that we met on the streets, and where every corner, store, or annual event had a story behind it. But now it was time to move, and in a sense, start all over again.
Today, we’re living in an exciting new community, and already beginning to feel at home in a wonderful new church. We’ve closed on a beautiful townhouse, and the boxes are all unpacked and the pictures are hung. We’re slowly learning our way around and a sense of being settled has . . . well . . . settled upon us. Relationships and memories are obviously going to take some time, and I still don’t know who makes the best Chai latte in town; but life is slowly quieting down and both my wife and I are feeling like we can breathe (and sleep!) again.
So where have the last two months gone? Why has the frenetic pace of my living been so burdensome? Why have I found myself so distracted by the practical trivialities of the last eight weeks of my life that I’ve been unable to stop and consider the deeper issues of family, friendship, and faith? Why have I been so consumed by the daily responsibilities of changing ministries – leaving well and starting fresh – that I’ve neglected to consider what the Spirit was doing IN me, and TO me, and to reflect on the deeper issues of growth, and discipleship, and obedience? Why have I not been reading, or writing, or reflecting? Why have I not been doing all of those life-giving things that normally make my days so rich and fulfilling? Why have I felt as though all my “living” has resulted in my neglecting my “being?”
Well . . . the answer is relatively easy. Sometimes, that’s just the way life is! Sometimes living DOES get in the way of our being. And the more I think about it, such times are really nothing more than times when our being is exposed and expressed. It’s really NOT that our living is getting in the way of our being, as much as it is that there are times in all of our lives when the rubber meets the road, and ‘who we be’ comes out in ‘how we live!’
And that’s what’s happened for me over these past two months. I have gone to the well, and drunk deeply of all the growth that I’ve experienced over the past 13 years. The Spirit of God has melted and molded me, fractured and fired me , reshaped and remade me; and for the past 8 weeks I’ve found strength, and courage, and hope, that I never knew I had. My “being” had been recreated for my “living,” and I’m confident that’s how it is for all of us.
Living is not a distraction. It’s why we were created. And during those ‘average’ days, when we’re just doing what we always do – when life is relatively easy and nothing appears to be changing – we need to be feeding our “being,” so that when the challenges come, our “living” does not overwhelm us. Our living should never get the way of our being, but rather it should be shaped by our being. And our being, while not necessarily shaped by our living, is refined and reflected in our living.
So wherever you are on your journey, be mindful of both your being AND your living. See the relationship between the two, that both might each day, point to the one we call God, and reflect the character and nature of the one we call Christ.



3 responses

6 06 2013
Margaret Sequeira

Thanks Bob for this reflection!

6 06 2013
Kathryn Duplantier

Hello Bob – glad you are finding yourself n your new community. I might not be able to tell you where to get the best Chai latte, but I can tell you where to get the best cake – Pastries by Randolph – in Arlington, and cupcakes – Lavender Moon on Royal Street in Old Town Alexandria – at least in my humble opinion. But meanwhile back to your blog, may you keep on “being” the great pastor and person that you are. Miss you and Jeanne.

7 06 2013
Iris Redmond

When I finally accepted your were leaving I thought to myself, “well, at least I’ll have his blog!” So keep up the good work and keep feeding your being, so you can feed ours too!
Miss you guys.

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