Unsuredness.

That’s a word, right? I wrote about being unsure for a friend’s website, which is a collection of writers, and I am now cross-posting it here. You can find the original post on Vicarious Lines.

At this time one year ago, I lived in Los Angeles, was preparing for Coachella and to take my PADI Rescue Diver course in Nicaragua. I wanted to become a Dive Master for quite a few years, and the Rescue Diver certification was the next step on that journey.

Fast-forward to April 2012 and I find myself unsure of virtually everything. I am now once again a resident of Seattle, and now I am unemployed and a Dive Master. I got my DM certification in Khao Lak, Thailand in January and returned to Seattle one month later. I find myself unemployed (which is also different than last year at this time), and completely unsure of what it is I want to do. I am unsure of what I want to do, as well as unsure of what I should do now, as well as unsure of if I made the right decision in moving back home. I know, “home is where the heart is,” but I’m not sure. I know I’m in a place where I cannot make that determination now – due to being unsure (not to mention unemployed). I find myself on random crying jags, but I wonder if that’s because I’m not working full time, and have not so much to take up my time.

I don’t feel that I’ve been hibernating, but on some level, I think I have been. I didn’t realize how much I’d miss the sun of Southern California. I miss the people I met in my 11-year sojourn in Southern California, yet I love spending time with the people I knew in Seattle – the ones I get to spend so much time with lately. I get to watch some of my friends’ kids get older and older. I get to experience the changes week to week. I get asked to babysit and use those kid experiences as another reason to not have kids now. But I don’t get to go to other friends’ restaurant openings in LA, or new cocktail bars that are opened by other friends, unless I happen to be in town. I have tried to immerse myself in Seattle’s cocktail culture (and I think I’ve done a darn good job), Seattle’s restaurant culture (I’ve probably done a less good job on this one), Seattle’s bike culture (it’s far too big to even think that 2 months is enough time!) and Seattle’s dive culture (this one is easier, if even more clique-ier). Those four things have the potential to take up tons of time, and dollars. If only I had more dollars!

But I’m not sure if they will get me to the answer I am looking for: Did I make the right decision? Was moving home the decision I should have made? I know I should not look backward, but at this point, I’m less sure of myself. This makes me sad. In LA I was a churchgoer, but in the last several years, my church community has done less of a job feeding me than the online community I built. Some of those people weren’t even “church” people – but they got me through so much. I wonder if I had more of a church community in Seattle, if that would make me more connected. I’ve tried finding a church and haven’t been successful.

Reconnecting with people has been great. I had a great time reconnecting with my Grandma last fall before Thailand, I have had a great time connecting with my sister and other friends in parts of Washington. I’ve had a great time taking care of friends’ kids and thoroughly enjoyed late summer in Seattle. So, if a job will make this not sure feeling go away, I’d take it.

The other option is to buck up and make some dreams come true. I’m working on that one. I have taken some leaps of faith in the past few days and know I need to take more. I have talents that if some company doesn’t want to harness, I need to use them to make myself happy. I am a grown woman in her mid-30s, I need to make some dreams come true.

Dream #1 for 2012 was becoming a DiveMaster – I did that. On to Dream #2 – it awaits.

Church Shopping. Still.

In the last Noelle, As She Wanders installment of church shopping, I was in Seattle. Then I went to Thailand, got my Dive Master certification, and then returned to Seattle. Then I went to Louisville, Kentucky for a General Assembly Mission Council Meeting, where Bruce Reyes-Chow piqued my interest by talking about “A Church Online.” When I got back to Seattle, I wanted to pick up where I left off, so I went to Newport Presbyterian Church, which is a very progressive and social justice-oriented church, on the East side of Lake Washington. I went to the early Sunday service, as I wanted to drive to visit with a friend afterwards. So, chances are that this wasn’t the best time to experience the congregation – there were tons of kids and families with kids. Not all of them were young kids, but I probably owe it to the church (and to myself) to go back for the 11am service. The language in many of the songs was male centered and that was rather off-putting to me, but the sermon was very interesting. This was at least a month ago at this point, so I am not sure what it was – but it got me thinking at the time!

At some point not too long after that, I was approached by someone whose name I’d heard on twitter, and who was also on the Leadership Team of Bruce’s A Church Online, to see if I was interested in being his Ruling Elder counterpart in a part of the church. I was very interested (and still am, not to make that sound only past tense!) in working with the other members of the Leadership Team, to create this church.

In terms of my church shopping, this Church Online is much more my speed. For the past few years, my church in LA was less of a place to get fed, and more of a place to feel out of place, but see friends. I always felt bad saying things like that to my former church, but as a single woman without kids in her mid-30s, I didn’t feel like the appropriate demographic. As a part of A Church Online, there is a real feeling (for me, at least) of working on being the church to those that can’t find a place in a church building on Sunday. Making the community that I’ve built slowly online into a real Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation is so exciting to me. I’m thrilled to have a group of people to connect with on a regular basis in a group, instead of “just” via twitter. Working on Mission and sacraments and all the nuts & bolts will be an adventure, but one I’m definitely feeling up to.

How do you do Mission if you’re not in the same physical region? Do we all go out and do the same thing on the same day in different areas? Is there a way to really connect mission in different regions with an online community? I would argue that there is a way to do it. I went to Nicaragua in 2006 with the Presbytery I am still currently affiliated with, along with a pastor from PingTung Presbytery in Taiwan. We were interested in working on triangulated mission. I then was asked to go to Taiwan to speak about it. Nothing came of it (that I know of), but the options are out there. We are a connectional church, we will figure it out, I’m confident of that.

A Church Online may not be for everyone. It may be something that is an addition to a weekly church service. It may be someone’s only church connection. But, this just proves that it can be for those who need it. I know that it comes at a time where I need a church, and this type of church is what I need.