“It ain’t rainin’ anymore, it’s hard to breathe when all you know is...
The struggle of staying above the rising water line.”
We’ve had a few weeks. Setting aside the usual political divisions I hear about and see on Facebook, in my circles I’ve seen shock at ongoing developments in sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church and worry over the United Methodist Church’s vote on LGBT inclusion this weekend. Not to mention the fact that Nashville, and much of the Eastern US, has seen endless amounts of rain.
This song, “Rainbow,” has been a favorite of mine off the Kacey Musgraves album, “Golden Hour” ever since I first heard it about a year ago. And, just in time for these chaotic and rainy few weeks, Kacey recently released it as a single, performing it on the Grammy’s the same night as her big win for Album of the Year, along with an absolutely stunning music video.
In Nashville this morning, the clouds parted, the sun came out, the rain stopped, and I could hear the words of this song all around me.
“Tie up the boat, take off your coat,
and take a look around. Everything is all right now.”
In my class this semester entitled, “Young Adult Faith, Spirituality, and Leadership,” we have used two images to understand spirituality: the pyramid and the boat at the harbor. The pyramid is a strong foundation, rooted in tradition, serving as a symbol of organized religion that has stood the test of time. Alternatively, the boat the harbor is that of a more individual experience of faith, going from one church to the next, and reloading on resources as needed before going back out again.
For most of my life, I’ve been a pyramid person. But, after moving multiple times throughout my life and as a young adult, I’m starting to relate to the boat at the harbor a bit more. What I find myself wondering more and more is this: “When is the right time to go back to the harbor?”
I suspect for many of us, we get tired of our church community and find ourselves wandering a little bit, looking for inspiration or community sometimes from new places. It’s tempting to do it all alone, and difficult to know when to go back to the harbor. When do you return to a church that’s hurt you? Do you go only when your cup is empty? Or only when your cup is full? And is your harbor even a church? Maybe it’s a hike, or a yoga class, or a phone call with a loved one. What is your refuge?
For my friends in the UMC, especially, I know this is a challenging weekend out of many, many challenging years struggling to have a conversation and create real inclusion for LGBT lay people and clergy in the denomination. Regardless of how the vote happens, my question remains: what will be your refuge?
“There’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head.”
The reality is, as I learned yesterday facilitating a storytelling workshop at Vanderbilt, that the refuge lays both in ourselves as individuals and in each other. I watched LGBT students talk with each other about their experiences of faith communities, and in doing so, I started to see realizations and answers emerge in them by pausing and reflecting on their past and sharing it with a neighbor. Answering, “where is your refuge,” means slowing down long enough to hear an honest answer within, and it may mean sharing that with someone you love.
Kacey’s song models for us a conversation that we can all have with one another other: “If you could see what I see, you’d be blinded by the colors.” If we actually told each other the positive in what we saw within each other, the hope we had in the other person’s abilities, we might all have more courage to put the umbrella away after the storm.
“Well, the sky has finally opened,” my friends. Take off your coat, take a look around. A storm has passed, and yes, I’m sure another one is out there brewing.
But perhaps everything truly can be all right now.