We are going down the road, together, sitting in the car. You are driving and I am in the passenger seat. When I look out my window I see the woods, some litter, a stream, perhaps an animal. When you look out your window, you see the road, the yellow lines, big trucks.
We are in the same space, going in the same direction, but we see two different worlds outside our windows.
This, my friends, is why it can be so hard to get along with each other, even and sometimes especially with the people we love the most: we are each having a surprisingly unique, specific-to-us experience of this life. It can be very confusing.
And also, I believe, why it is so important that we take the time to hear each other's stories. I have come to believe that it is in the richness of our personal narratives where we find the salvation that will give us the courage to hold hands as we walk through this difficult life.
I don't know why roses smell good to you and awful to me. I don't know why I dislike cats and love hiking. I have no idea what would make you want to spend your life adding up numbers or why your dream is to visit New Zealand. Those things don't make sense to me, but if I hold your story in a place of curiosity, then you might teach me something.
And what better way is there to live than to learn and learn and learn?
I have spent a lot of energy in this life trying to get people to see the world my way. Trying to advance my clearly superior POV. It's exhausting. And futile. Comical, really.
I was back at the pulpit yesterday after two weeks away, and it felt great. I have such an intriguing sense of belonging there, in front of the church. To be sure, I miss pew-sitting and stained-glass window-gazing, but I feel that God may have been correct in leading me, confused, laughing and nervous, to the Pawlet Community Church. My story, many days, doesn't make any sense to me; I can't imagine how it feels to those who know me, or what kind of reaction they get when they talk about me out in the world. Still, it's my story and I love it.
My niece got married the other day, which is usually a cause for celebration, ceremony, a lot of whoop-whoop. This wedding happened quietly, privately, so that she and her husband could head to California where he will begin his time in service to our country as a Marine. Clare will start college there. Last summer she attended a National Student Leadership conference on health and medicine at UC Berkeley and discovered that she very much liked California.
There has been a fair amount of hand-wringing around this as Clare is 18 years old; everyone is digesting this information differently. I have made mention that their story mirrors another one I know pretty well: my parents got married very young, then headed off to an Air Force base to begin what has turned out to be, so far, fifty-four years of married life.
Let's face it: there is no way to know whether or not a marriage will take hold and last. Most of the people I know have been divorced, some more than once. Some are getting divorced, and a bunch are unhappy within their marriages. Getting married at 18 seems risky, but I don't think we've nailed the secret formula when it comes to happiness in love or marriage. I wish them well, I hope their joy sustains. I am not willing to discount their ideas simply because they are young. I know enough to know that age doesn't guarantee stability in love or accumulation of wisdom. Why not take the risk? Godspeed to Clare and Matt and may all their dreams become realities.
Your window; my window.
My sons are both colorblind. When I see a yellow car, Sam sees green, or what he thinks might be green. We see it differently. Is one way right or wrong?
We are all going down the road together. We are sitting together in the car of life. Sometimes you are driving, sometimes I am napping, sometimes we are quiet, listening to music together. Sometimes we are talking about what lies ahead, sometimes we are sharing what came before. But we are all in the car, we are. And there are streams and big trucks. And there are woods and yellow lines. There are pastors and pew-sitters. There are first marriages at 58 and first marriages at 18. There are yellow cars and green cars.
The best part? We are all in the car, on the road, together.