A Stable Faith…….. by Rev. Shayna Appel

Maybe journey is not so much a journey ahead, or a journey into space, but a journey into presence.
  ~Nelle Morton, 1985

Nelle Morton is a feminist theologian whose work I first encountered in seminary, back in those heady days when the seemingly constant stream of multiple and new perspectives unlocked endless new possibilities for everything!  I was reminded of her work this past week when I read an article by M. Jade Kaiser, one of the co-founders and co-directors of enfleshed, a bi-weekly column by scholars, activists, artists, and others offering spiritual nourishment for collective liberation.

M’s article was the first of six to deal with the topic of ‘home.’ Often thought of as a destination of sorts, a place where the difficulties of life are eventually all sorted out and put away clean, M was reflecting on what she describes as her own persistent insatiability and how it has always seemed to move the finish line of home further and further away while also binding her to the age old truth that ‘the journey is home.’

As the end of my 23 years in parish ministry gradually begins to come into view, I find myself thinking often about the beginning of this journey, and of how wonderful it felt to finally attain ordination and serve alongside beloved congregants and colleagues in this avocation of ministry.  In its time, it was a homecoming of sorts.  But, as is always the case with those of us who struggle with a persistent insatiability, eventually the feeling of home becomes less comfortable — “compromised by inevitable constraints, frictions, changes, or the impacts of other forces.”

Rev. William Sloane Coffin once said, “You’ll never get rich being a minister.  But if you pay careful attention, you may become wise!” I guess I must have paid some attention along the way because these days, home seems less and less of a destination and more of a journey.  Retirement from parish ministry is an end, to be sure, but I’ve been down this road enough times to know, it is also a beginning. 

Amidst these long, cold nights of February, watching carefully for the gradual return of daylight, I am struck by all that lies before me, and you, and UUCM, and Unitarian Universalism.  The journey is here!  Onward sibling travelers!

Rev. Shayna