“I know that is a luxury of being single.” As I said it I wondered if it were needed. A luxury of being single – I felt like I needed to defend my Sunday coffee shop visits to my mom friend. I know that moms do a lot, and can be under-praised, but did I need to justify reading at Reverie on a Sunday afternoon? (To clarify, this mommy friend of mine did not imply or insinuate that I needed to defend myself, I felt compelled to.)
Why did I feel this need to justify my Sunday liturgy? The rhythms I have honed over the last few months, the repetition of practice that has lead me out of my apartment and into the warm embrace of Reverie and books, followed by the gathering of the Saints at the Source. This habit has brought silence before songs of praise, coffee before sermons, and Bible study before fellowship. And here I was feeling guilty for this beautiful and generous season of life.
This “luxury” that singleness brings is not always so joyous. The rituals that I have embedded in my life are to make the loneliness livable, to draw my neighborhood into my circle, to make my Church my community. The silence of my apartment is not as alluring as the scent of fresh brewed beans or the sounds of hand drums mixed with pre-service chit-chat. These moments in my Sunday liturgy lead me to the Lord, they lead me to community, they lead me to hand over my loneliness the Great Comforter.
This Sunday ritual is not a luxury, it is my necessity. Growing up the Sunday routine was something I did with my family, then in college with friends, then with roommates, and now that I live alone for the first time in my life, I live in a new(ish) city, and I am making this single life bearable. I am doing this with coffee, and books, and pottery classes, and church – places I meet with the One who walks with me and will lead me into the next season with no need to feel guilty and call it “luxury.”
I was the passenger in a caravan with friends when we got pulled over. The driver of the vehicle I was in got two tickets: one for speeding and one for driving on a suspended license. As a side note, she did not know her licence was suspended in the state of New York. She got ousted as the driver, got out and headed to the other van, and I was left alone with my thoughts as I drove through the rest of the state. That drive was a divine moment in my life. I cranked up the music, turned off the walkie-talkie (you know that is how we roll), and prayed.
I sought the Lord – I needed direction, and He has always been faithful. I sought the Lord and He gave me peace. I had been given a couple of options for my next assignment with the organization I work for and I had to make the decision of where was I going to live. The only home I had known post-college was no longer an option, so on this drive I sought the Lord. He gave me peace and upon entering Pennsylvania, I told my caravan buddies that I was moving to Wichita, Kansas.
For just over two years I have made Wichita my home. Yes, that Wichita, the one Jack White sings of. During that time I have consistently been asked (by everyone), “Why Wichita?” To be honest I still ask myself that some days. But I know this is where I should be. Is it the best city in the US? No. Was it on my list of places to move? No. Was it even on my radar? No. But it is where the Lord directed me.
As I have wrestled with this new home, I have looked to the Old Testament Prophets – I seek their words for my discipline, encouragement, or direction. This past week I have been meditating on Isaiah 65:2, “They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.” A similar, more common sentiment: “Bloom where you are planted.” I have been planted in Wichita, I am making my home, and I am flourishing. So, instead of asking why Wichita, why here, why there, let’s seek to root ourselves, build our homes, and grow where the Lord has placed us.