When I decided to start this blog I shared my dreams for it with my spiritual director. I planned, and still plan, to have 3 posts a week. Tuesday Thinking, a mid-week guest spot for someone to share their thinking, and a Friday post diving into scripture that hopefully corresponds to the Tuesday Thinking and mid-week guest hosting. That’s a lot, and it will come in time. After I finished laying all of this out, she asked me how I planned to show myself grace when I inevitably hit a busy week and couldn’t meet all of my goals. I decided then that I would allow myself the option of answering a simple question whenever I needed the grace of a break, but still wanted to share something. That question is this, “What’s saving my life right now?”
I was first introduced to this question at University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. I was serving as a Pastoral Associate and every Tuesday morning we, the staff and almost-staff, would gather together in a room with walls wrapped in fabric wallpaper, red shag carpet, and a huge brown sectional that circled the perimeter. We’d start by practicing lectio devina with that week’s sermon text so that our hearts and minds could turn toward the Sunday morning worship and so that our lead pastor could get some extra perspective for the sermon. (Our version of lectio devina included reading scripture out loud three times, in three different translations, and then discussing any thoughts that came to mind about the passage.) Every once in a while, he would also ask us, “What is saving your life right now?”
Barbara Brown Taylor offered this question originally in her book, An Altar in the World, and the answer can be anything. Jen Hatmaker, another woman whose faith and ministry inspires me, asks this same question to her guests at the end of her podcast episodes. Again here, as in the staff meeting, the answer can be anything. Coffee. A good book. A certain song. Anything.
So, what is saving my life right now? It is the grace to be able to hold up one small-ish thing and call it good and life-saving and let that be enough for a blog post. In some ways, just writing this post and thinking through a handful of the people who have helped form my faith is the thing saving my life. But that realization is actually just a special bonus that came to me while writing this post. What I actually came here to share is this:
What is saving my life right now is time around the table with friends.
On Friday night some new friends invited us into their home for dessert and conversation. The dessert was delicious and the conversation drifted late into the night. On Saturday evening we met our neighbors outside their house and walked about half a mile to a Turkish restaurant where we sat for hours and talked over good food before walking back, still lost in conversation.
As I’ve written before, making friends in a new place is hard and I’m coming to terms with the reality of loneliness that I sometimes feel here. What this weekend offered me was a breath of comfort through connection as I was invited to the table with new friends.
So, friends, what is saving your life right now?