Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the Beginning (Where a Journey Always Starts)

Living in limbo is not exactly a strength of mine.  I tend to be a creature of habit.  I like to know where I'm going, how I'm going to get there and when I'm going to arrive.  Planning, precision and perseverance are the tools I prefer in getting through the daily routine.  I like feeling that all is right with my world!

Things started to change over a very short time.  Not unexpected changes-I knew they were coming eventually!  My daughter graduated high school and just a few short months later left the nest to start her career in the Navy.  In November my father was hospitalized after being diagnosed with cancer.  We spent Christmas in Vermont with my family-something dad wanted!  He died in February, at home, just the way he wanted to go.  In addition, I was in the process of transitioning out of my role as Praise Team Coordinator at church because I felt it was time to let someone else step up and take over the role.  Add to that the economic and social turmoil over the last year; it added up to a lot of things happening!  Big changes which started the process of asking a whole new set of questions.

The questions seemed to all come at once-who am I, really?  Where am I going?  What am I going to do next?  How am I going to get there?  Why would I want to do certain things or make certain choices?  Some might call this a mid life crisis but I think, for me at least, it's more about figuring out what's the next step.  Where do I "fit" in the grand scheme of things?  I thought if I could figure out the answer to that question then I would have a good starting point to figure out the rest of the list!

Fortunately, I found a place to start.  I love genealogy and history!  I can thank my aunt for that particular passion!  The day she opened up a box and pulled out some old family papers and explained just what I had in my hand, I was hooked!  So I knew that my family had been Methodist for many generations.  I knew that they had helped build the church in town.  What I didn't realize though until this past year is that they were Methodist before there was even a Methodist church-they were members of one of the original Methodist Societies in the area.  The significance of this point is that there were no ministers other than the occasional circuit rider coming through the area.  The groups were organized and led by lay leaders for the purpose of study, prayer and holding each other accountable to the beliefs and practices of the society.  No easy task and there were individuals who chose to leave or were dismissed.  As I did a little more digging the question I started to ask was why?  Why choose Methodism?  Quite truthfully, if I hadn't grown up Methodist I'm not sure I would have picked it on my own!  What was so compelling about the Methodist way that my ancestors not only made the choice to participate but also to help build a church?  

The depth of what I have found so far, not only surprised me but it has challenged me to share what I've learned and to show just how relevant it is for today!  History repeats itself in some very surprising ways and I have found it is worth paying attention!  The journey begins!

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