Like any other twenty-something who has moved from a small town to a big city, the last ten years of my life have been constant flux. The last year has been particularly acute, which is probably why I've been thinking about it so much, but seriously. I've moved countless times, changed my state residency twice, went to school, graduated from school, transitioned into full-time work, changed jobs, transitioned within the job, went back to school, graduated from school, transitioned back into work, transitioned from single to married, transitioned from a lay person to an ordained person, transitioned in my family relationships, and watched most of my friends move through the same process, just with their own constellations of constant change.
(As a side note, the Church in general does not do a good job ministering to people who are in constant change. This is another blog post entirely.)
Maybe I'm getting older, but this starting to be exhausting. Not that the flux isn't fun, it is a time of intense personal growth, but I'm ready to inhabit a new way of being now, to find a center in the chaos. I am more than ready for some stability, and weirdly, I've been thinking about monks.
In monastic orders, there are three basic vows: poverty, chastity, and obedience. But some orders (orders are specific types of monks or nuns, each order has a different ministry or focus) have additional vows. One of those vows is stability. When a person takes a vow of stability, that person vows to remain with one community for the rest of his or her life, come what may. It doesn't matter if the community gets a bunch of new people that a monk doesn't like, he's staying, and they will grow together. It doesn't matter if a nun is facing uncomfortable truths about herself because of what is happening in that community, she's staying, and she will grow because of it. The vow of stability takes away the autonomy to just move on, and instead fosters a trust that together, a community can flourish.
While I won't be taking any monastic vows anytime soon, I'm looking forward to being in one place for the foreseeable future, and look to the monastic tradition for assurance that this longer-term transition is really for the best. I do find it odd that I'm finding that "one place" in a place of constant change and motion and businesses opening and closing, a constant and changing tide of people throughout the day and week, but hey. At least I know it won't be boring around here. I'm thinking this experience will be less like laying a foundation, and more like casting an anchor over the side of the boat. But regardless, I hope that 2014 is the beginning of the rest of the twenty-teens for me.