I haven't written anything personal in a while. I've been wondering about that. I thought about it out in the cabin this morning as I prayed and ate pancakes. At times I haven't written because things are going badly and I don't know what to say. But now I actually feel very encouraged and have been surprised by a clear sense of hope.
Maybe it's that I don't quite know how to explain that feeling. Many aspects of community life here seem to be hitting new low points. Maybe it seems to me that we're close to "hitting bottom" (as they say in AA). I do think I can start to see hints of a path rising on the far side of this deep valley. It does feel like the tide is turning.
I know one thing that's encouraging is that I'm feeling some resolution to my most heart-wrenching prayers and yearnings of the past couple years. I remember writing this almost two years ago:
I still feel like I want the hard consequences of some decisions here to make it very clear that those choices weren't the best or most loving for everyone involved. That the path that has been chosen is not the path of freedom and peace that Jesus showed us in his life. But I can also see that hoping and praying for mercy is right. Maybe praying that not all the hard consequences have to be borne, that our relationships and our connection here be preserved, and a way forward offered. That it be clear that God is not pleased, but also that God is merciful and still holds us in his love. And that we have a chance to choose differently in the future.It seems to me that God has made this crystal clear through the many tumultuous experiences here since I wrote that. And now I'm finding it much easier to keep praying for mercy. That feels good.
I also see God bringing various surprising pieces together that could potentially provide what we need for a good community life, and real church, here in the future. Like real friendships. Organic community. Generosity instead of subsistence. And these pieces are coming together in ways that none of use could have managed (or even known what we really needed). So I'm encouraged that God is doing something, and has been all along. I think there is still much difficulty and pain to be faced yet, by many people here, but no matter what we choose or do, I believe and am beginning to actually see that God is doing something good.
God is merciful, and still holds all of us in his love.