I’ve been listening to an audio book from Anne Lamott, her newest. It plays while I drive my kids around and while I commute to work or school. I love her voice, like an old friend calling shotgun to talk about the good the bad and the ugly of everyday.
Yesterday, she was talking about finding lost things. She said something along the lines of, “When you lose something, you go back to the last place you had it and look there.”
This is obvious mom advice, right? If you can’t find your shoes, try to remember where you were last time you took them off. Where were you when you last had your keys or your phone or your wallet…
or your faith.
That is what I asked myself, driving down 305 to drop my son off at youth choir. I kept asking myself as I drove back after he was safely deposited at the church.
Back in Tupelo? Did I just not bring my faith to Olive Branch when we moved? No, that didn’t seem right. I was struggling with deconstruction in Tupelo, though maybe in more subtle ways. In Brandon then, that far back? That was ten years ago.
I know I have felt God’s presence, felt at peace, in the last ten years.
So… when? Where?
I moved on to running media for worship at The Well, correcting sermon slides and greeting visitors and sipping a Coke for the caffeine infusion needed to stay alert. All the while, the back of my brain was spinning, searching… where did I last see my faith, my peace, my certainty that God, whatever God is, was with me?
Then the band started playing and the words that filled the room were, “Holy Spirit, you are welcome here.”
I closed my eyes. I went back to where that song took root in me, to Jamie singing those words, no guitar or piano or drums needed. Just her voice rising in an empty church, an old church, a church that has looked over the valley for 600 years.
That is where I saw it last.
That is where I last felt at peace.
My eyes filled with tears, because I can’t go back anytime soon, and when I do go back it won’t be for as long as last summer. This time last year, I was plotting how to pack for my summer in under 50 pounds. Whole weeks stretched before me, weeks without any of the worry that plagues me here in the States.
Last summer, I did not worry about money or my health or health insurance bills. I did not worry about grades and scholarships and computers.
Last summer, I sat in an ancient church and listened to Jamie’s voice seeping into clay walls that had held the prayers of centuries. I stood on mountain tops, literally and spiritually. I laughed with children in broken languages. I sipped coffee while the birds of paradise were in bloom.
And all was well, and all was well, and all manner of things would be well.
How do I find Honduras in my heart without getting on an airplane?
That is the question I begin my summer with this year. How do I find Honduras in this life even while going to 8 AM classes and learning algebra and working at a daycare and trying to rewrite a manuscript in verse?
How do I find Honduras in my heart?