Sunday, December 23, 2012


This morning I woke up at five, like clockwork. So much for my plans of sleeping in a bit today. I got around, made some coffee, cut my hair and took a long hot shower. After a mug of joe and a clean close shave, I decided to make a big breakfast and go to church this morning. This year, a Sunday off of work is incredibly rare and so I ate, threw on a pair of comfy jeans, a lambswool sweater, grabbed my well worn, favorite leather jacket and a silk scarf and took off into the city, just as the sun was starting to peek up over the tall oaks.

The drive in was quiet and the roads were dry of snow melt. I hummed along to some quiet classical guitar music and enjoyed the open road without much on my mind. After a while, the Downtown skyline came in view to the west and I proceeded into Midtown and through familiar streets towards the church I have called home for the past six years. As I neared the 39th Street corridor, I saw I still had a bit of time on my hands and drove past to the south. A morning drive down Ward Parkway and through the Country Club Plaza has been a Sunday morning ritual in years past and so I eased my way through familiar sights, enjoying the Christmas lights and decorations. It is a pleasant and beautiful drive past stately homes, wide boulevards, sparkling fountains and I found my mind wandering. So many times I have driven this way to friends homes, different social events, to work, to Michael's home, gatherings at Bruce and Mark's house and all the myriad of circumstances that have shaped my life in this city over many years. Figuratively and literally, it was a trip down memory lane.

I turned around at the circular on Meyer Boulevard, rounded the fountain a few times, just for the fun of it and headed north again, intent on making the early service at church. As I passed the Plaza and headed into Midtown I realized that I really did not want to go to church at all. My thoughts flashed briefly over the different friends I had not seen for quite some time, this summer actually, but being in their presence, talking to them and then sitting inside in a building while Tim or Isaac talked for long while did not seem attractive at all. I always enjoy the music and mingling before the service but I could not bring myself to make the turn. I did not want to see anyone really. Sitting inside during such a beautiful morning was certainly something I was not looking forward to and I realized something that gave me pause, but also a strangely settled and comforting feeling at the same time.

There was nobody I needed to see. No conversations or familiar faces are lacking in my life. There was nothing any person could talk about for an hour that I needed or wanted to listen to. For those of you who have not followed my writing here for a while, I do not believe much of anything anymore. While this could have been disturbing or upsetting at some other point in my life, in the place and space I inhabit now, it brought me a sense of great peace.

I am no longer searching, looking, questioning, grasping, wrestling and in a constant state of tension with all the familiar stories, ideas and concepts which were thrust upon me growing up, sought out by myself at other times in my life and slowly discarded as they no longer made sense to me, held any reason for being, existed as a catalyst for growth or offered authentic comfort. I do not need anything at all from them anymore. The friendships and relationships I have made will last. They are not based on nor depend upon a shared common framework of faith or meetings at a building to charge them with integrity or make them genuine. They exist where hearts touch and minds are share.

The smile on my face as I drove back home content, in the warm and brilliant sunshine, is the very best gift I have received this Christmas. Time changes us all. One chapter has ended and another one has begun. 


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