In Nashville, that is. Glad to be gone and moved away. It seems like the kind of place I should be. And if we'd had some friends there, some people to play with....you know....community, it may have been different. In a year, we found very little.
Let me tell ya.....I don't need a bunch of people in my life. A few good friends that I feel comfortable around. A couple of musical foils. That's what I need. When we left the ministry over a year ago, I just figured that it would kind of happen. Like it always did. It didn't. And it reminded me of something.
After my junior year of college, I took a year off to collect my head. I was down. Angry. Bitter. And broke. Don't forget broke. I went back home, worked two jobs for year, interned at a church. After reading over 100 books of all manner and matter, I got a little slice of peace and headed back to college. I had two years ahead of me (I was trying for two degrees) and was ready to get into it again. All of my friends had left my college, though. And for the first couple of months, I ate in the cafeteria alone. I came back to school a far better person than I was when I left. Nobody was interested in what I had to offer. For a while, anyway.
And that's what Nashville felt like. Nobody was interested. I was told that people were jaded regarding music there. Turns out, what they are interested is their own scene. And we didn't fit. Too old. Maybe too young for some. Too conservative or liberal. Who knows? We met some great acquaintances there, but no real friends. I still really don't know what to make of it.
So, we went in the opposite direction and are sharing a house with another family. Some day I'll tell you all about it. We're still finding our bearings in a two family household. But we're making our own friends in this new area, slowly. I'm also closer to family. This is better. But still.....
Something is missing. Our old ministry life was all-encompassing. I've had a much harder time adjusting than I thought. There was nothing to replace the instant relationships when we left. Trying to get back into it has been a bust, until recently. There is some hope, but it's slow. Hope is, by it's very nature, slow.
My wife and I, the lovely Summar, have gone through some serious ideological changes. We've fought with God. We've discarded political labels. We've realigned our theology. We love music and food and knowledge. We talk for hours, and our son joins in sometimes, too. He's so smart. He wants to take everything apart to see how it works. Or to just destroy it. He is a boy, after all.
The point is our change, our upheaval, our loneliness has changed us. We're resilient. It made us face our convictions, and discard the ones that don't work for us. I'm glad it did all that. We're different people. Stronger.
It may seem a little hyperbolic. You're thinking, "Hey, people move all the time. What's he whining about this time?" I get it. I just can't emphasize how hard it was personally, or how glad we are to have some sense of community again.
God, through Paul, talks about being refined in a fire. He talks about discipline for those He loves. He speaks of beating his body daily to, basically, keep it in line. All that talk about trials and tribulation and what it does. On the tribulation-o-meter, we would hardly register, I suppose. But the process of transformation isn't pleasant, which I suppose is the point. A pleasant transformation wouldn't stick. It would be like a trendy diet, and then six months later you've gained all the weight back. This change is sticky. This change is like Laffy Taffy in your teeth. Or super glue on your fingers. At least I hope it is.
P.S. This is the last Nashville post. Next up....rock stars who became preachers. Stay tuned.