It is an odd feeling, this feeling where what feel to be your fragmented selves seem to gather at last.
Theses selves are not lining up, there is no order or neatness to it, but they are for certain gathering. Bits and pieces of memories of thoughts and words throughout my adolescence and young adulthood come back to me. They have walked back into this space of my thoughts and my hopes and my questions and they have sat down at the table, looked me in the eye, and said, "This is not new for you. This is who you've always been. It's time now to talk with us."
I have long had this quiet, aching fear in the pit of my stomach that says, "You are a piece of driftwood, easily tossed to and fro. You are carried about by the winds and waves. You have no foundation." Even when I would have called myself a grounded, stable, conservative Christian who voted Republican, loved the "poor others," and shunned alcohol, recklessness, and bad words - even then I saw in myself the propensity to entertain the views of others and shift my views. I squashed it down and told myself to hold fast to the Truth, to place my feet on the solid rock, and to be unmoved by the emotional pleas of other views that swayed my heart and head towards another answer, but I always wondered if I was driftwood.
The girl who squirmed when her denomination-of-origin only ever referred to themselves when referring to "God's Work" is sitting with a different restlessness at this table.
That teenager who asked, with no irony, if it were really possible to legislate morality, is here in this space.
The young adult who read and read and read from glowing screens into the wee hours of the morning with dictionary.com open on one window and articles and arguments in the other and wondering at these people who loved Jesus and believed differently than she. That girl is here too.
And more recently the woman who wondered of her place. For if no babies, no husband, then where should she sit? Or should she stand? Is she allowed to stand? Who decides these allowances? And what of these women she has loved and sat knee-to-knee with over open Bibles and cups of coffee. And what of the women in those pages who stood and sat, who raised cries to the sky and who knelt and dropped tears on the feet of The Savior? These questions meet such loudness and clamor and it feels like, is, war.
And all these girls and women of my self who have gathered here together to sit at this table are comforting to me. I see them through these past three decades, with their questions and their uncertainties and their fears of driftwood and I can say to them:
No. You are not driftwood. You are a vine, curling and sprawling up the side of a trellis. You are grafted in to and weaving around a concert of vines in an ancient vineyard. You produce fragrant flowers and bountiful fruit. You have branches and leaves die, wither to brown and grow heavy with their dead weight before they are pruned in a painful, but ultimately satisfying, cut. You have always twisted and blossomed here. You, with your strong ancient roots and your tender new shoots are alive and growing. You are not dead wood.