Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:3-4)
So it’s been just over a year and a half since we uprooted ourselves from Packerland USA and settled here in Steelers Country. And one of the hardest parts of moving is happening again. Right now as I type:
I’m starting to get to know and care about and really like the people here.
I love them, even.
I know. Cry me a river, right?
But here’s the thing about moving around every couple of years or so: it hurts.
It hurts to start over. It hurts to say goodbye. It hurts to leave the place where “everybody knows your name” and go to a place where nobody does. It hurts especially because when I’m making new friends, I know something that most of them don’t (even though I tell them right away). I know that they’re going to get to know me–really know me–just in time to say goodbye.
So unfortunately, what happens, to me at least, (not to everyone, because I’ve learned it really depends on your personality, and some people really love being nomads. I’m just not one of those people.), is that I try not to get to know too many people.
Which is just wrong. Because I really, really like people.
(Most of them, anyway).
(Most of the time).
I love them even.
I’m fascinated by them.
Fascinated by what they think, how they feel, how they act, the things they say, and how they say them. What makes them mad, or happy, or relaxed or defensive.
I love watching it all, hearing it all, and learning from it.
But it’s safer from a distance. Because then it doesn’t hurt so much to say goodbye.
But, now, I’ve been getting signs pointing me into the direction of The Deep.
I’ve found myself getting phone calls or emails to volunteer more. (I was going to cut back on that “this time around” here in PA. Though I can’t help but wonder… did I really think I could cut back on getting involved in activities and helping out with school and church functions for two or three years?) I have more lunch dates with friends, and more GNO’s. (Sidebar here: when I first saw someone post on Facebook that they were having a “GNO Tonight!” I thought they had an appointment with their GyNecOlogist, and wondered why in the world they felt the need to announce it to the rest of us. Then I learned that GNO stands for Girls’ Night Out which makes more sense. But I still don’t like the acronym).
Anyway, like I said, it’s happening. I’m making connections. I’m getting involved. I’m making more friends than before.
And it already hurts to think about saying goodbye.
Here’s the thing.
Getting involved and helping others is still the best way to effectively share your story. I can write for days and weeks and months and years about how God has changed me, how much I love God, how I believe that we are ALL God’s children.
But those are just words.
And words? As much as I love them? All by themselves, they seldom transform people. Transformed people transform people, says Richard Rohr. And, hard as I’ve tried to keep my distance, it’s difficult to make a difference in someone’s life if you aren’t involved in it. And I know he’s right.
Sure, I’ve enjoyed teaching here “from the shore.” And I hope I’ve said some words that have maybe touched some hearts from time to time. And that is good. In return, many people whose hearts have been touched by my words have turned around and touched mine right back. So, of course, I will continue this work. It feeds me!
But it is not enough.
So, now, after a year and a half, I know it’s time to do what I was led here to do.
I’m realizing now that more is being asked of me here in the land that I’m trying so desperately to dwell on, rather than in. It’s time for me to share myself– all of me– and whatever gifts I have to offer. In the past those gifts involved creating new ways for others to learn and grow in their faith, and working closely with others… and…making lifelong friends. It’s time for me to open my heart and do what I can in that capacity here, and share with others who I am. And Whose I am.
Not with my words, but with…me.
So…even though I still carry the sadness of having done that before… in my last towns… (right before I left), it’s been a year and half now. And it is time to “cast” again. Cast out my doubts. Cast open my heart. Plunge into the Mystery of the new waters around me. And share my gifts.
Because the only way to make a good catch?
Is to go deep.