Autumn brings with her a torrent of colors and emotions. I am not a stranger to either. I said last year that I am autumn and I mean it again this year. I think there is always the awareness that I am in a living limbo, but never more than when September hits. Life hits squarely and I work my fingers and heart every waking moment.

Today I pause, sort of, at a table with people I like. They tease me and beg me to stay longer, sit with them and laugh, befriend. Be friend. I say flippantly that their flippant words hit a chord, but I still get up and leave.

Because, I say to another later, because I am afraid.

I live in a place that is a passing through place. Somehow my passing through turned permanent, but mostly, they all just pass through. We call our church a sending church, which is an exciting thought, but partly just a salve to our souls when we "commission" people called elsewhere.

We are a sending church, but we keep sometimes too. And I am kept.

I don't know why. I don't know why I taste other nations, other cultures, other states, and other families, and why none tastes like home like here. I don't know why when everything else in my head feels upside down, here, with all its foibles and opportunities to fall flat, still rights my equilibrium. I don't know why I am so convinced that being faithful with the small things is still radical. And I don't know why I am kept here.

But I am.

And maybe it seems that being kept isn't such a great thing. Like a kept girl or a kept marble, a kidnapped child or a secret memento. Horded. Tucked. Hidden. Captive.

But today I meditate on the Keeper of my soul--the real home of my heart. I think about what my Bible calls A Song of Ascents. I lift my eyes up, off the green hills of Northern New York, from the helplessness of my stuck feet, and I see One who neither slumbers, nor sleeps. No. He keeps.

And so I will be kept.

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

October 2008