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Where Do We Go Now?

Where do we go now? The Guns and Roses refrain keeps traveling through my brain. I’m in flux. We’re re-establishing a presence in Memphis, renting an apartment downtown until we can hopefully find a condo. I’m so place oriented, y’all. This splitting back into three parts—New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Memphis—has discombobulated me. I tend to grow deep rather than wide, I always have. Conversations that hit subjects and move on like dragonflies on the surface of a pond disorient me. Maybe this has to do with my lack of spatial competence. I too easily lose my place in the world. So I’ve been struggling.

Until yesterday.

The Moment of Now

I was leaving the hair salon on the sidewalk in Uptown New Orleans. Mulling over the disquiet I’ve felt and how the delightful conversations with the Paris Parker folks had eased that unease into the background for a moment. Then it hit me. I think because my brain was unjangled, in that moment I thought of the transformative experience of being a facilitator for Days of Dialogue with the Mississippi Episcopal Diocese.

This small but mighty group is traveling the state initiating conversations about who we are in the context of race. And I thought about the Contemplative Justice Group I attend most every Monday by Zoom through The School of Contemplative Living. There we slowly and carefully review our lives like picking crab from the shell. Also the spin-off group that is examining the role of enslavement in the founding of the Louisiana Diocese. And my beloved Free Church of the Annunciation where a conversation is ongoing about using more gender-inclusive language in the liturgy. And y’all, the loyal and nonjudgemental readers of this blog.

At that, the thought hit me square on: you have already landed. The “where do we go now” question is already underway. I don’t need to feel adrift because I’ve already landed in my new place.

The Moment of Landing in Now

This imagery might be influenced by my novel I picked back up, The Bone Trench. In it, Mother Mary leaves heaven in search of her missing son. She lands in Memphis on the lip of a trench filled with bones. My thoughts about Mother Mary on her feast day encouraged me to return to this work that had an agent who dribbled it out to about four houses before handing it back to me. It’s a really good novel. I can say that because when my writing flounders like a dead fish wall-eye up, I know it. This one doesn’t.

But re-engaging with the effort to get it public is also one of the reasons I feel like jagged pieces of a broken mirror floating in dark outer space . Really? You’re taking on this odd novel too? Isn’t it enough that no agents are interested in the Mississippi novel?

That’s when I realized I already have my group for whom this work will at least start an interesting conversation, even if they don’t agree with everything it has to say or the way it’s said. They will appreciate the effort. I’m already in the midst of that group. No matter that I’ve had this epiphany before–see the blog post above on Days of Dialogue. Perhaps the stream reference in there wasn’t good enough for me. Maybe I need to be more grounded, literally. Because all of a sudden I felt my toes hit earth. My mind cleared. I started walking down the sidewalk, already in the now.

A metal icon of Mother Mary, who fully understands the disorientation of not knowing where we go from now
Mother Mary, who has been with me since 1995 when a priest suggested she might be my best spiritual mentor for that moment

Days of Dialogue with the Mississippi Episcopal Diocese, Searching for place in life, The Bone Trench, The moment of now, where do we go now

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