Saturday, July 26, 2008

Living on the edge...

Taken at Pier 39 in San Francisco last Sunday.

See the sea lion in the front on the right? The one that looks like it's asleep and about to roll off into the bay?

That's how I feel right now.

Like I'm about to roll off the end of my life into a deep bay. Deep waters.

Unpredictable tides.
Rough seas.
Lonely shores.
Indistinguishable landmarks.

A week ago today, I was in San Francisco. At the BlogHer convention. Listening. Talking. Laughing. Eating. Meeting new people. Consolidating friendships with people I already knew.

And all the while, being asked to consider and express where I stand - or, like the animal in the picture, where I lay - on various issues. Marriage. Divorce. Love. Infidelity. Commitment. Poverty. Homelessness. Politics. The upcoming election. Faith. The church. Racism. Sexism. Parenting. Immigration. War. Genocide. Homosexuality. Every one of these topics and so many more came up in dozens of conversations I engaged myself in and listened in on.

It had been at least a decade since I had been in the company of so many thoughtful, respectful, open-hearted, welcoming, and strongly opinionated women. Easy answers were not easy to come by - and not allowed to lay unexamined. They still aren't.

On many topics of the topics discussed, I felt like one of the crowd of sea lions crammed onto that middle dock, surrounded and covered by friends and compatriots. On others, I felt like like the sea lion living precariously on the edge, pretending to be asleep. Hoping no one would try to wake me up and require me to speak the truth of what I believe. I was forced to admit to myself that some of the places where I stood with the crowd were both unexpected and comforting. And some of the topics where I stood alone were surprising even to me.

Living on the edge.

Today, I sit at my computer a week away from a trip Kristiana and I will take to Nicaragua with 28 other people from our church. We leave next Saturday, the 2nd, and return the following Saturday, the 9th. Teaching VBS. Playing soccer. Repairing churches and school buildings. Feeding hungry people. Taking clothes, toys, school supplies, and all the grace we can cram into our bags and hearts. Loving the unloved. Remembering the forgotten. Caring for orphans and widows. Spreading the love of God with all we encounter.

I alternate between feeling excited and apprehensive.
Delighted and disquieted.
Intimidated and intrepid.
How could it be any other way?

This is the stuff of life.
Living on the edge.

Yup, I feel a lot like the dozing sea lion on the end of the pier.
Teetering, tottering. Being shaken by the crashing waves.
A solitary soul with no one to lean against or cling to.

But don't wake me up.
Not yet.
I'm in the middle of the most amazing dream.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Hi Gayle, Thanks for sharing your feelings and all the neat conversations. For me, I would love to be just a fly on the wall and listening in and all the while hoping not to get swatted.
I pray that God uses you in a mighty way on your missions trip.
Blessings Lori
PS Im the first to comment, how cool is that.