Monday, January 31, 2011

The Place Between

I’m neither where nor there. Where I was is gone. Or at least its like a melting iceberg beneath my polar bear feet. Where I’m going needs a good guess – yours as good as mine.

Since I gave notice at the church – leaving the end of May – I’ve got this hollow feeling. The church is a doughnut and I’m the hole at the centre. While I’m there to fill the pulpit with soul and heavensong... While I’m there to meet tragedy and mark passages as they come unpredictably along… I’m unable to deal with anything of the future. That’s up to the next hired hand. And it’s up to the leaders/elders of the church.

It’s a strange phenomenon – watching the church slowly recoil back to its status quo. After ten years of stretching it in all directions – its slowly moving back into the shape I found it in. The church council is basically all the same people. The building is unchanged. Even the one big change – screen and projector in the sanctuary – is on the blitz due to a roof leak that fried it.

Trying to get a handle on what the last ten years of my efforts have meant is like “trying to nail jello to the wall”. (“Ministry is a High Calling – Aim Low” by Peter Sellars)

When my mind isn’t working on rewind and replay – it has the tendency to shoot into fast forward mode. Where will I spend the next ten years? What task has the LORD for me to do? What do I really want to do???
I mean – when I get out of the hammock by the river…

I like that term “Making a Living”. How does one go about “Making” something without materials? I mean, from where I stand right now, all the building materials are in GOD’s hands – y’know THE MAKER seems to have what I need to get started. Things like Time, Money, People (customers, co-workers, cheerleaders), and the Place where it all comes together.

So, while I try to imagine what materials GOD’s got for me to work with (He’s not showing his hand – sly character that he is) it’s my decision which card to play next.

I’ve got the UCC minister card to play – the one with the official looking crest on it and the honourary title that pulls weight with a diminishing crowd of people. Like ice flows in spring, United churches are an endangered species. While people tell me I do a good funeral – I don’t have the heart to spend the next ten years burying people i've come to love.

I know some Ministers move into freelance Counselling – putting their ears and hearts out on a shingle. But a counsellor I’ve never been much of. Beyond empathy I’ve never felt I had any good direction or advice to give. Most of what I’ve done right has been a result of good genes and breeding. And most of the lessons I’ve learned have been from falling on my face.

Take my advice…you too could end up single, unemployed and living in the woods with questionable mental health in a motorhome going nowhere fast.

Take heart my friends (those of you who didn’t laugh at that last sentence) I’m down, beaten up a bit, but this cat has a few lives left to live yet.

The place between is a strange world. Nothing sticks to the walls cause there’s no walls.

Lost the servant’s heart
in a place called deserving

Now I’m de-servantizing
and dis-covering a self made whole
entitled by the author to swim
in freedom’s waters

Gifted by what comes naturally
afloat with only a breath to keep 
my feet from dragging me down
swamped by waves of doubt.

At my best when serving self
taking seconds at the Maker’s smorgasbord
chances seen in rear view glances.
Watch out
I’m coming round again.

The cards left in my hand still to play are what I’m betting on. I’ve been holding them close to my chest afraid to put my last few chips on an all-in game. I’ve folded on this one so many times it’s not funny. Playing it safe has only whittled down my stash as I ante up year after year. Will GOD call my bluff - or let me win this one just to see what a loser could do with a win? 

“Mid life is not a choice – it’s what happens to you – inevitable, inescapable.” 
                                                                         Steve Taylor

“The one who chooses to ride the tiger
is afraid to dismount.” 

“The one who rides the gravy train
might slip getting off.”
Mike Cote

To enter in
the Way
without a plan to make GOD laugh
is all that’s left

you know that place you’ve never been
heard tell of it
seen scenes - seemed so light
dark whispers told among conspirators
over rough drafts

Perfect Trust
deep end dive
into dark waters
only a fool would jump
into the mystic


                                                Allan d. Reeve
                                                January 31, 2011

Highs and lows
of winter roads
Snow covered rises
round corners
Sun splashes of white paint stripes
across grey roads’
low icy corners

Car keys tapping out the beat
reminds me of home
Not a place
a feel
a touch
inside out
a big hearted sun
shining here
this is it
and ever will be
as it always is
when I get still
to notice
                             For stuart elliot
                             January 24, 2pm
                             Calaboogie hills Matchawan


Brenda said...

Oh Allan, I too know this place and it's exactly as you describe. Nothing else is needed except to keep noticing it(i.e., lack of walls)until something shifts, for you've moved into the deeps where the shifting isn't up to you.

Good poems. They'll ground you when nothing else will.

celticfrog said...

Great post Allan. It describes the feelings I have felt all too many times. (I have actually and truly spent time living in a van in the woods.)

I like the story of Elijah being fed by the ravens. (1 Kings 17) That is what I hold on to. When all else fails God is present.