I found church last night in Barnes and Noble.
I left my mom self at home and went out to person for a while. To feed my soul so that I could feed us all.
I used to be a strictly fiction reader, escaping my world for one more exotic, yet predictable. Since the beginning, books have been my home, my haven, my safe house.
And then I hatched. I birthed myself afresh from the confining cocoon of uneasy comfort which held me captive. I found again my love of learning that had gone dormant out of fear. I found biographies. Memoirs. People pouring words out of themselves about their realness. Humor. Growth. Humanity.
So I drink it in. There’s always a new Amazon box. Another podcast. The next Audible book. It’s exhilarating. Life-giving. In a lonely time in my life I have found communion and companionship in the spoken and written hearts of others who have been down paths that look like mine. Past landmarks that I have seen as well. Whose growth and evolution inspires me to lean into change.
At first, I held it all close to the vest. The tender sprouts of my new understanding too frail to be exposed to the harsh elements of the world outside myself. And then, like Jeremiah, it became a burning in my bones, lighting my soul on fire with epiphanies of life and love.
I drew courage from others who speak. From the gorgeous souls who bravely bare themselves for connection. I haltingly said a thing. And carefully another. It did not kill me. I breathed in this realization. Pondered it. Gathered it to me like a gift.
I went to Barnes and Noble to wander the aisles looking for more courage. For the people from whom my book people had gotten their inspiration. Down the rabbit hole of the next author. And another. And the next. Trusting that my searching, my craving for life is opening my mind and my heart to the more and more and more love and connection and healing that the human soul longs for.
Someone else was looking too. Another human on a path of learning, expanding, growing.
We had church in the aisle.
All the burning newness. The soul fire of love and learning. The unlearned and the relearned. The gift of letting the words out. Another portion of courage and vulnerability.
I left in a glow of glory. I felt alive with the magic of it.
I take wonder in. I absorb concepts. I mull ideas. But they don’t fully become mine until they move from my brain to my mouth. From my mind to my fingers. Somehow, the act of passing them out of me catalyzes them. They are transformed from glowing embers into roaring flames.
This is my church. This is where my soul is fed. This is my learning come to life. This is where I find resurrection. In Barnes and Noble with a stranger. Who is really not a stranger at all but a human who is connected to my humanity by hope. By the courage to be alive. By the bravery to grow and change and be made new. By the capacity to live loved.