Here I sit in my living room on another frigid day in East Montpelier, Vermont. My partner and son are in the next room playing. I spent the day free of parenting, visiting with friends, reaching out to find mentors and advisors for this farm and community project we are starting here.
It's hard to reach out, as I have mentioned in another post. But, I do. I take risks, I reach out, and the results are not always satisfactory. And sometimes they are. That is the work. To risk. To try. To keep on keeping on.
My son has started at a new childcare center today, and when we arrived there this morning, it felt like walking into a friends living room. This small farmhouse sized school, with 15 children a day, has the same 6 staff members, and is rooted in a community of artists and musicians. The sense of comfort is palpable. It takes my breath away, in the transitional moments when I am leaving or coming. I feel as if I am leaving a safety when I go, which honestly is such a relief for me as a parent. And when I come back, it feels like stepping into an old remembered hallway. And my son is there.
But it wasn't easy to get into this school. Norman wrote to them in spring, and when we got here, there was no space at the inn. We ended up at another school, maybe 10 times its size, with a lot less closeness, a sense of emptiness in the halls. I didn't like leaving Forrest there, though they were very helpful around medical procedures and taking Forrest on for more days in the fall.
How did I find room in the inn? Persistence. I continued to experience discomfort with the previous school, so I kept on emailing this one. Suddenly, in December, the director said, we might just have a space for you! I jumped on it. We visited a second time, Forrest loved it, and two weeks later he started.
We have a name for our farm, now. It wasn't an easy process, but we've come to it: Open Way Farm. This name comes from a Quaker concept of way opening. My understanding of this is that when things are rightly aligned, or rightly ordered, that the way opens, and we enter the kin-dom of God(ess).
Well, maybe not all the time, but this idea stands as a central part of my lived faith experience. The ways in which way has opened in my life, the openings of faith through experiences that seemed to present themselves like so much ripe fruit, ready to be picked, is truly miraculous, when I think about it. I also know that a lot of those experiences are tempered by my privilege and place in society.
And I have also worked for these opening ways. The rose colored memory glasses might tell me that things opened easily, but that is not always the case. And the opening stands side by side with the work, like the easy transition to the new school that took months of communication.
As I share my vision for this land and farm and community and healing place, sometimes I might sounds like a pie-in-the-sky fool, with nothing but some hot wind coming out my orifices. But I know that the work and the vision need to stand, side by side, for way to open.
I believe that God(ess) is present in most things, people, beings. You might call me a panentheist. You would be right. But this does not mean, therefore, that we are passively part of an All that leads to the pearly gates. My faith, my experience shows me, teaches me that we must work for the kin-dom, and when we work, She comes rushing up to meet us, in all the glory and realness that is the world.
This belonging isn't easy, but it feels true to me. I pray for the strength to continue the dance of try and opening I find myself in, and pray for partners in the dance. Welcome to the dance, if you are willing. Welcome to the Open Way.