It’s All Holy Ground

Monday morning, while I was drinking my first cup of tea, tears filled my eyes.  I was appreciating a picture I had taken the night before.  I had texted the picture to one of my friends, along with the message, “Grateful I found the courage to live authentically, and grateful to have found you, on the same journey.”  And here’s the thing.  As I sat drinking my tea, I realized I could have sent that picture and those words to any one of a number of friends, because those are the kinds of friends I have.

It had been a busy weekend.  Saturday evening I preached at Left Hand Church. Sunday morning I preached three times at Denver Community Church.  I was shuttled between DCC’s two locations, and twice had to walk through the middle of the Denver Pride parade to get to my ride waiting on the other side.  Two full church buildings and a wonderful parade, traversed twice, all on Father’s Day morning.

After church I had lunch with Rachael McClair, one of my favorite pastors, then spent the afternoon with Cathy.  We talked about our wonderful life together, raising our three amazing children.  Earlier in the day, I had heard from all three, my little Father’s Day gift.  I returned home shortly before sunset, tired but grateful.  That’s when I took the picture of the sunset.

I am blessed to have a former wife who remains my close friend, and three children I greatly admire who have chosen to remain by my side.  I am blessed to have dear friends who are there for me all day, every day, having joined me on the journey of authenticity.

Five years ago I thought I would never preach again.  Evangelical churches would not let me through their doors, and mainline Protestant churches were afraid of my evangelical background.  I was without a spiritual country, with only a handful of friends.  Today, I have an abundance of friends, and I get to preach from sea to shining sea.  This land is my land, and I do not take it for granted.

Every close friend who has joined me on this journey has paid a price, and we remain diligent in defense of our freedom.  There are many who would do everything in their power to take it away.  Unfortunately, I hear from them on a regular basis.  But in the presence of the amazing love with which I am surrounded, their attacks are nothing more than sounding brass and clanging symbols.

I hold on to these good days, for as sure as I enjoyed last night’s sunset, I will come upon another day in which I can barely put one foot in front of the other. Finding balance is never easy. Long trail runs through the sage, juniper and piñon pine keep me grounded. On days I need a distraction, a difficult mountain biking trail does the trick.

But mostly, I am grounded by my fellow travelers.  I need my companions.  Life is like the fourth and fifth stanza’s of the William Butler Yeats poem, Vacillation.  At the end of the fourth stanza he writes, “My body of a sudden blazed, and 20 minutes more or less it seemed, so great my happiness, that I was blessed and could bless.” Yesterday and today were those kinds of days.  But in the very next stanza, Yeats writes, “And not a day but something is recalled, my conscience or my vanity appalled.”  Yeah, I have plenty of those days too.

This is a wild ride, and should not be undertaken without companions who know the boulders and branches, mountains and valleys.  You need those who have gone before, and others coming behind.  I am grateful for the perfect sunset, and the friend I wrote, and the other friends I could have written, and my perfect cup of tea.  All of it, holy.

I’m thinking before he died, Moses finally figured out all the ground was holy, every last inch of it.  This is a sacred and holy journey, undertaken for the greater good.  I am blessed to have so many fellow travelers who also understand the holiness of every last inch of the ground on which we walk.

10 thoughts on “It’s All Holy Ground

  1. Paula
    I read your blog faithfully. Don’t pretend to follow or that I understand everything.
    However one thing I know for sure, your authenticity is like a glass of cool water on a summer day after a long run (I know you know those)
    Glad to be with you on the journey. I will stand side by side with you any time.
    If ever in the city you are welcome at Christ Church Bay Ridge! You can preach for us anytime.
    They have welcome me with my evangelical baggage!
    David

    Like

  2. Paula,

    Hope we can catch a few minutes to sit down together at Wild Goose. Let me know if you see an unclaimed few minutes. So glad you continue to invest in this part of the movement.

    Michael

    W Michael Smith
    1 Faulkner Ave.
    Asheville, NC 28805
    828-575-7963
    wmichaelsmith@live.com

    Like

    • Unfortunately, I’m not going to get there this year, Michael. I’m preaching in San Francisco that weekend, and then headed to the TEDSummit in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m sure I’ll be back next year, though. I’ll miss seeing you.

      Like

  3. I love reading this…so good. What a great reminder that every day and moment is holy. So grateful that you are in this special place.

    Like

  4. Ms. Paula,

    Not quite sure what to say other than thank you. Amidst a dark night of the soul, your voice has been such a source of comfort and peace for me. Funny how that’s the case when most often your message is to suffer authentically—keyword being suffer. It’s no wonder not everyone understands you, as you speak in the tongue of angels. I pray for a community like yours, for the courage to find my true self, and to let go of the myth of control. Please keep up the good fight. Maybe one day I’ll make it up to Denver to hear you preach in person. For now, the podcasts will have to do.

    Much love from Memphis.

    Like

  5. Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield…
    ~ Tennyson

    Persist and persevere Paula.

    Like

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