Sara McNelis
Grace Church, Kingston

(Part II of III, continued from previous post)

Sunday is my day to rest, to breathe, to rejuvenate; to be nurtured rather than nurture. Sunday is my day to ‘go to church’–a commitment that, over the last few years, has become an absolute pleasure. To sit in my familiar pew…to smell the familiar blend of candle wax with a faint hint of incense…to hear the echoing toll of the 10am church bells…to greet my friends and loved ones with a gentle handshake or a familiar hug…to listen to the familiar words of prayers and hymns chanted and spoken and sung by familiar voices with familiar rhythms and tones…to taste the familiar wine as it melts the wafer on my tongue. I liken it to finding the perfect spot on the beach. The familiar sound of the waves ebb and flow…the seagulls cooing….the people’s laughter…the smell and taste of salty air…the feeling of the sun’s warmth on my skin. I allow this familiarity to wash over me and engulf me in a quiet meditation.

One Sunday, a few months ago, I sat down. I took a deep breath. I closed my eyes. And, I began my familiar quiet meditation. But, I am interrupted from my familiarity, this particular Sunday, with these words from our Pilgrimage Collect, “give us the courage to set off on pilgrimage to seek the form and styles of life and ministry you have prepared for us. You call us to leave familiar things and leave our ‘comfort zone’….” I open one eye and look at Father John questioningly to make sure he’s sincere. Yup, he means it. I look around me to see if anyone else seems unsettled. Nope, everyone looks quite comfortable.

So, I am pulled from my comfortable and familiar meditation into a barrage of questions and protests. Courage?!? I think I’ve got enough of that! Do you know how much courage it takes to change jobs? To allow your child to get their driver’s license and then let them drive? To nurture a new romantic relationship after divorce? And, leave familiar things?!? Why? There is not one thing wrong with my familiar things! Well, no much anyway (well, OK, some familiar things could use some updating, but still…) No, I’ll decide when to leave familiar things, I don’t need coaxing! (Or maybe I do, but still…) Out of my ‘comfort zone’?!? When was the last time I saw my ‘comfort zone’? Everyday I’m out of my ‘comfort zone’. Learning to navigate our digital world, I am out of my ‘comfort zone’. Eating the ‘right’ foods because of new toxicities rather than traditional comfort foods passed down from my grandmothers and before, I am out of my ‘comfort zone’. And, for goodness sakes! Hearing this new Collect instead of the familiar rhythm and tones of a traditional Collect, I am out of my ‘comfort zone’…

(To be continued)

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