at the side of an unnamed road

I have a friend who is on a similar path of deconstruction in her faith, feminism and freedom. She lives on the other side of the world so getting together is hard and takes intention. But we try to chat whenever we can because having people who understand you when you’re struggling to give language to this part of the path is worth trying to carve out awkward times to chat.

I’ve talked about having ‘elders’ in your village – people who are wise because they have walked a similar path and act like mentors, inspirers, distant cheerleaders from further down the journey. It’s also vital to have people in your village who can feel where you are because it feels a little like where they are. These people can sit with you on the word-less, unnamed roads when you’re able to name your ‘not that’ but haven’t yet discovered that ‘now this’.

Prioritise both. Elders and fellow sojourners. Seek them out and ask wherever and whenever you can.

Today our conversation was riddled with frustration and a good dollop of sass.

Because a journey of unbecoming requires a lot of energy, you’re easily depleted and can get seriously weary.

It’s when you’re low that it becomes too easy to doubt where you’re heading, to question if it’s even possible for there to be a good outcome. What’s even the point?

In these moments, sitting down for a while at the side of your metaphorical unnamed dirt track with a friend, is like a cold drink of water on a hot day.

So we complained for a while, and stamped our feet. We didn’t give each other too-easy answers or insincere platitudes. We just chatted – as she drove through the boonies and I curled on the sofa with the dog – and let ourselves feel a similar exhaustion across two continents and a giant ocean.

And then we got back up and carried on. Because that’s what you do. You stop and lean against someone until you can go again. And then you go again, until you need another cold glass of water at the side of a different stretch of unnamed road.

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