I have been wanting to write, but seemingly unable to put two thoughts together. I have a friend who writes and on an occasion last year was bemoaning that she did not have time to put down her thoughts onto paper or screen. A very wise Parker Palmer suggested to her that she was not to feel shame for that because instead of writing about life, she was busy living it! Maybe that is also true for me at this time.
I am beginning my 4th week as Interim Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in North Bend, OR (be sure to look it up on a map so that you know where it is), and everything, positively and absolutely everything about it, is new. The streets, the landscape, my 2 bedroom apartment (that's right, after 24 plus years as a home owner, I'm renting an apartment), the names, the church, the stores, the state and much more are all brand new.
Many will tell you that I am a big fan of the adventure and change, and this is by and large true, but even for me, this is overwhelming. Still and all, I am surprised by the ways that God has showed up and is adding heaps and measures of blessing into the mix. Here are a few things that I am counting as gain:
1. A generous welcome and acceptance by the congregation.
2. An apartment just 3 minutes away from the church, and in this case, it's a good thing.
3. There are no crowds or traffic jams.
4. Minutes away from beach, coast, river and bay.
5. A water aerobics class for less than 1/2 what I paid in the SF Bay Area.
6. The temperature is seldom over 65 degrees
7. All sorts of ways to connect with the community (e.g. a pay as you are able cafe, a Christian coffee shop, a weekly Farmer's Market, the church's Food Cupboard, a clergy lectionary group, and a brewery where I can buy a share and get two free pints a week for a year!)
8. Lots of quiet and I have no tv, so there really is no excuse for me to not write, collage, create, pray, meditate etc.
9. A group of people who are looking for guidance and a way forward as a church.
10. The quiet, the new, etc gives me a chance to really focus. I've eaten nearly all my meals at home or from home and I find that I am much more conscious of what I am eating, how it is prepared, etc. than when I have other people, a dog, the noises, etc.
around me. It is something I am going to need to be able to solidify and translate to other settings, but it is a good initial discovery.
Finally, I am surprised at the number of people that are already slated to visit or be in the area. I hope that more of you will find your way to this small, pretty and rather well kept secret.