Yesterday morning I went swimming for the first time in more than two months. My stomach problems had effectively sidelined me from most exercise, and I sat at my breakfast table struggling with my conflicting desire... to go? Or not to go?
Not to go was safer.
But I stood, and as I did, I recognized in myself the fact that the decision had been made. I went upstairs to pull a bathing suit from the drawer... one I'd bought because my others had all grown alarmingly large and unwearable (unless I REALLY wanted to turn some heads!). I put my new, smaller bathing suit on my sort of new, smaller body (not small... long way to go, yet). I pulled on a jeans skirt (one I've only been wearing about a month... it hadn't fit for... ever) and a purple t-shirt, put on sandals (which, really, are a part of my denial about the fall... it was about 57 degrees when I stepped outside), and drove to the pool.
There were a couple of glitches. I forgot the combination to my lock. Thankfully, I had anticipated such a likelihood, and kept the packaging in my gym bag. Check. Then, as I pulled on my swim cap, and carried my towel and goggles into the pool, I had a funny feeling I was forgetting something else. Once I pushed away from the edge for my first lap the missing item was obvious: my ear plugs. Check again.
I stretched and pulled. I breathed and counted. I swam 18 laps, not bad considering my hiatus... and I'm considerably lighter than the last time I swam, so it didn't feel labored in the least. And as always happens when I finally, finally return to the water... a quiet joy seeped through me. Ah. At last. Home.
I've been thinking a lot about why I needed to take a break from this blog. When I stopped I was feeling truly awful physically, and the Medicos have not yet solved the mystery of my digestive system. I have all sorts of expensive tests scheduled in a couple of weeks... the kind that require anesthesia and what is euphemistically referred to as "prep." I had days where I was literally too weak to get out of bed. (Not many, but a few.)
But there is another truth. I fear that, here in this place, I have made a promise I fear I won't be able to keep. Take the issue of coming out. I have set a goal out there of coming out to my congregation, in a year from.... when was it? Anyway, now it will be considerably less than a year... perhaps six months or less. And while in some ways I am measurably more "out there" here than I have ever been before, there is a part of me that is not sure I am ready. Happy ending postponed! Or something.
I know that coming out is no one's business but my own. Many dear friends and colleagues have encouraged me to remember that everyone has the right to change her mind! Thank God. But truly, coming out is the church's business, too. It is, I believe, for the long term health of the church to have a culture of openness rather than secrecy. The line between private and secret is, of course, complex... but that's a line I tread, daily.
I suspect it will be like diving into the pool. I will sit at my table, afraid. The safer thing would be to stay where I am. But there will probably be a moment when I have decided without even realizing that I was deciding. And I will purposefully go, and clothe myself in whatever garments I need, and I will dive into that delicious blue. I will stretch and pull, I will breathe and I will count.
And I will be home.
One of these days.