It only took a full three-day weekend of research, cogitating and trial and error word-pairing to settle on it—a blog name, that is. While some readers may think it inconsequential, I submit that the naming of something is a perilous undertaking. At times, even presumptuous. Perhaps you’ve ruminated, like me, on the responsibility attached to the the name ‘Joy,’ ‘Grace,’ or even the weightier moniker, ‘Christian’ when one’s countenance/action on any particular day does not match the appellation! As much as parents intend it for good, it seems a bit burdensome to me.
That said, my new blog title: The Front Porch: Unplugged Reflections on Life and Faith is a carefully-considered naming or ‘christening,’ as it were. I pray it lives up to its designation. Consider it a little monastery of hospitality and grace where with a pastor and fellow pilgrim, you are invited to ‘pull up a rocker’ with your favorite beverage (hot or cold) and share a journey. Here on this ‘porch,’ we will reflect on issues of both life and faith because for me, each informs the other. A strange and wonderful dance!
It was on my own childhood porch (with ostentatious turquoise porch swing and vintage mid-century aluminum webbed folding lawn chairs) that the adults solved the problems of the world while we kids played under their watchful eye. It was on this same porch that my parents taught their progeny hymns of the faith, the joy of reading and the wonders of the night sky. This setting equally doubled as the hallowed ground where my Father provided a safe place for his first-born, a daughter, to pose questions about God and the galaxy when her hand-me-down theological paradigm no longer fit.
‘Don’t ever stop asking questions. Stay curious,’ my Dad insisted. ‘It keeps you real, Honey. Just don’t tell your Mother how we two dance with doubt!’ Curious. For the man who lived to question and to obstinately advocate the opposite viewpoint (whether he held it or not), the final days of his life interrupted were filled with more peace than query. What silenced his questions, I am uncertain. Maybe he received a ‘visitation’ in the night alone in the hospital ICU unit—his unsuspecting home for 21 short days after a ravenous stomach cancer diagnosis. Maybe he cranked up his always beautiful mind in the wee hours of the morning and finally resolved his most weighty existential conundrums. Or maybe it was some other indeterminate resignation that enveloped him. I can tell you one thing for sure, were we sitting together on that porch about now, I would ask him straight up for an explanation and a long, lovely conversation would surely ensue. A thin place indeed.
It would not be a far stretch to name my childhood ‘front porch’ as a parcel of fertile soil in which my life vocation was born. For it was in that place of designated family retreat that the dance of faith and life took sacred shape. Holy ground.
No matter its size, structure or configuration, a home does not seem complete without a porch. One could say the same for the church. At least that’s the way I see it.
Pastor and Pilgrim,