Lately, I feel like I’ve been living in a land of maybes.
Perhaps replying with a “maybe” when someone invites you over for a glass of wine or extends your child an invitation to their son or daughter’s birthday party isn’t a big deal to you – but for me, it’s like twenty five years of history gets unearthed every time I utter the response.
Part of me wants to be able to give a definite yes or no, after all, this is what I’m supposed to do. This is how I’m supposed to respond. The good little church girl inside of me, the one who listened to the Sermon on the Mount and took seriously Jesus’ instruction to let your yes be yes and your no be no, doesn’t always know how to interpret loose and uncertain answers freely flowing from my mouth.
But then it happens again – another maybe, another indefinite answer to a most definite question.
And all I can do is smile in reply, for I glory in the gray.
Just over a year ago, I stood in a crowd of a few hundred people under an iconic cathedral in Seattle, Washington. My journey into the Episcopal Church hadn’t happened overnight, but was an extension over several years of study and conversation, friendship and happenstance. Had we the time, I’d tell you about falling in love with Anglican theology over in a stack of textbooks in an Evangelical seminary class nearly a decade before, or about sitting in a public library branch one summer afternoon, my fingers unable to type the sentences necessary for an overdue article.
Episcopal, 98115, I typed into the search engine, curious as to whether or not a local church even existed within my zip code. Five minutes later, I shut my computer, packed my bags and headed for the midweek Eucharist service at an old brick building less than five minutes from my house.
When I walked into the small chapel, I didn’t really know why I was there but I knew it felt like home. When I prayed the prayers, my eyes bore dependence on the printed words but my soul felt them deep in her bones. And when I sat in silence, my breath aligned with the saints around me, the very marrow of our insides somehow knit together in holy magic.
The people of Saint Andrew’s became my people, her church my church. And when Father Rich, who had become both a friend and a mentor, asked if I’d consider baptism in the Church, I remember how the words, “I’ll think about it” came out of my mouth while my insides screamed a resounding chorus of yeses.
Soon after, I stood underneath the booming cathedral and felt wet tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t help but think about how delighting in the maybes, in the gray, and in the not knowing was part of what led me to say yes in the first place. Somehow, the paradoxical certitude of grasping and clinging and holding onto a middle place that didn’t always have an answer for why she believed what she believed helped me find God again.
For God is there with us, even when we find ourselves in seasons filled with more maybes than specific yeses and noes. After all, grace lives in the gray places too.
So, when the gritty details of both my personal and my professional life feel like too much and not enough, all at the same time, and the only answer that stems from my mouth is yet another maybe, I also give thanks.
After all, God is just as much in this place, living in a land of maybes along with me.
[Image Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay]