I would like to rest here for a while
If I could only keep my heart from rising up
But I can see the mountaintops
And eagles on the breeze
And I can hardly keep myself
Oh me! Oh my rising heart! But down!
Sometimes it is difficult
To constantly have to remind myself
That now is not the time
I want to stretch my wounded wings
This poem perhaps requires some explanation. I’m trying to think of the best way to go about it, and it seems to me that the best way is the long way around.
I wrote this poem while visiting one of my favorite churches. It appears that right now, once again, I am looking for a new church. It’s difficult and time consuming to explain exactly why I’m leaving one church and looking for another, but: I’m looking for a new church, and I have fond memories of this church. I went to ministry school here. Ministry school was probably the most unpleasant experience of my whole life. I can’t really explain why things were unpleasant, except that “things fall apart/ the center cannot hold.” Sometimes everything just works out badly. Suffice it to say that three or so years ago I realized that I was working in the children’s church every service, not because I like children (which I do), but because I didn’t want to go to the main service. It actually hurt to go. It was painful to watch people doing the very things that I knew I was good at, but that I also knew that if I put my hand to them, they would fall apart. Everything that I did that might be recognized was a flop. Everything that I did in private was an amazing success. It was as if the hand of God was against me. Imagine trying out for the school basketball team and being a complete klutz. You can’t run; you travel; you can’t shoot, and when they throw the ball at you, you instinctively duck. Then when you’ve completely failed your chance for the team, you stand in the court after everyone has left, and make three-point shot after three-point shot. Three kids from another school show up and challenge you to a scrimmage, you against all three. You play them and you totally walk. They can’t even hold a candle to you. So you show up for tryouts the next day and you forget how to tie your shoes. You get on the court and you fumble; you trip; you travel. You don’t make a single shot. You run off the court in complete embarrassment before the tryouts are even over. And the next day you come back, when nobody’s there. You pile up the balls beside you, and just stand there in the evening heat, sweating, making three-point shot after three-point shot. That’s about what it felt like.
So now I’m visiting this church again, thinking, “gee, wouldn’t it be nice if I could end up here.” It really is an amazing church. There’s a certain kind of raw edged freedom there. Their stated goal (and they’re slowly achieving it) is to get every member to find their niche in active ministry. Creativity seems to just come flooding into you during the services. It was while I was going to school there that I got into my mind a solid plan for what I want to do with my life. I have this idea, see. I want to own a Christian bookstore. But not some cute little boutique. I want a religious version of something like Border’s, only better. I am firmly convinced that, if the Christian God is real, then Christians should be the most creative people on earth. In my mind, the only things that could be getting in the way are religious structures that don’t encourage creativity, and economics. I can’t really do much about the religious structures, but I can work with economics. So I want to create a business that searches out Christian art, literature, and music and gives financial backing to it. (This is the part where I go off the deep end and get really excited about it, and foam at the mouth and stuff.) But I’ve got everything on this long-term plan. I’m going to college for an English degree. Then I’m going to work in the business world for a while, both to pay off debts and to get some hands-on experience in planning and running a relatively large business. Somewhere in there, I plan to get married and have kids. (The I’m dating right now plans to become a doctor—this could take a while.) So sometime in the next 30 years or so, I plan to achieve this dream.
I have a point for that last little bit about my goals for my life. There’s a I knew at this ministry school I went to. She herself doesn’t draw, but she started an art in worship workshop as part of a ministry project her second year there. Similar my second year project was a poetry workshop. It was a flop. I had one person attend from another church, who never came back. Her project didn’t flop. It was a smashing success. This year she’s expanded to poetry and dance. I was there when she told the workshop people her goals. She wants to have these huge conferences for Christian artists and poets and musicians and stuff. They are planning on incorporating aspects of her little workshop into everything that the church does. I could feel the bile rising up in the back of my throat. She’s doing now what I hope to start (at the earliest) maybe in ten years.
Every time I go to that church, it’s so wonderful. I really love it there. I feel so much at home. But it always comes back to mind that other people are there doing the very things that I plan to do, only their doing it bigger, faster, better and they’re doing it now. It’s probably good for my pride, and maybe I’ll eventually get on that basketball team, but it’s still so hard to consider whether I want to go back there, because I’ll constantly have to remind myself that now is not the time.