Familiar and Safe

Two days ago at 9:25 am, I walked into Christ Church chapel. It was Ash Wednesday. I found a pew on the left side and sat down. The morning hadn’t started well. When Meg left for her doctor’s appointment, she was not happy with me. My throat hurt from yelling. I didn’t handle our conversation well and my heart wouldn’t stop racing. Sitting in the pew, I began to catch my breath. A couple of minutes later, my heart slowed a couple of beats.

As I sat there collecting myself, I realized how grateful I was to be sitting in that pew. For ten of the past twelve years, I have attended the Ash Wednesday service in that chapel. The chapel was familiar. It also felt safe. The spirit within the place gave me the freedom to be myself. I didn’t have to be anything other than the guy who had screwed things up—who had lost his voice—earlier that morning. I felt welcomed just as I was.

As I sat there, I thought about the readers of my book. My hope for you as you read the stories is that you will find them familiar—that they will remind you of your own stories—and you will feel safe—safe enough to feel welcome to be yourself, regardless of where you are in life. If you experience even a little bit of the spirit I felt Wednesday morning, the book will have done what I hoped.