On Love and Church

Love took us by surprise.

We weren’t looking for love – as a matter of fact, we were looking for exactly the opposite. We were kind of hot messes, to be honest, and we thought it best to sort out our “stuff” on our own. There’s an adage about loving yourself before you can love someone else: we figured we had some work to do before dragging anyone else along for the ride.

The first week, we went out for fun. The second week, we were surprised to find ourselves together again. By the third week, we realized we liked the rhythm we were finding together, the two of us. So we continued.

Of course, love took some time. But in time, it revealed itself. In time, we discovered love’s way of amplifying the best parts of each other while also finding beauty in all the rest. In time, we recognized that love was helping us to become better versions of ourselves. In time, we learned to believe – in ourselves, in the possibilities, in the very idea that we were worthy of such reckless, boundless love.

We didn’t know such a thing existed. We didn’t know love could work this way.

And yet it did. We thought we had to figure out life on our own; we learned life is best figured out with a companion. We thought we needed to heal our wounds in order to experience love; we learned to experience love in order to heal our wounds. Once we found love, we became more optimistic about all that we could do and all that we might become.

So we stay. Because it’s better this way. Together, the two of us.

Church took us by surprise.

We weren’t looking for Church – as a matter of fact, we were looking for exactly the opposite. We thought Church was a hot mess, to be honest, and we thought it best to sort out our “stuff” on our own.  There’s an adage about churches being made up of the people inside them: we figured Church was already damaged enough without us adding our baggage to the mix.

The first week, we went out of curiosity. The second week, we were surprised to find ourselves there again. By the third week, we realized we liked the rhythm we were finding together, us and Church. So we continued.

Of course, Church took some time. But in time, it revealed itself. In time, we discovered Church’s way of amplifying the best parts of one another while also finding beauty in all the rest. In time, we recognized that Church was helping us to become better versions of ourselves. In time, we learned to believe – in ourselves, in the possibilities, in the very idea that we were worthy of such reckless, boundless love.

We didn’t know such a thing existed. We didn’t know Church could work this way.

And yet it did. We thought we had to figure out life on our own; we learned life is best figured out with companions. We thought we needed to heal our wounds in order to trust Church; we learned to trust Church in order to heal our wounds. Once we found Church, we became more optimistic about all that Church could do and all that Church might become.

So we stay. Because it’s better this way. Together, all of us.

Dawn Murray and her husband, Andrew, set out looking for Church after realizing they needed a place where people assume the best about each other and bring out the best in each other. They were surprised and delighted to find their family’s spiritual home hiding in plain sight on the corner of Jefferson and Elm. The picture above is from All Saints’ Day 2017, when their two children were baptized.

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