There seems to be this magic spot in the backyard where the light is perfect in the evening. I took full advantage of it on Sunday afternoon ... and here are about 1/4 of the pics I took. I need to edit them more, but haven't had the time.
I have issues with pictures of myself, you may notice the general lack of them. I'd rather be behind the lens. A friend posted a pic of me on facebook, several actually, and I only liked a couple of them. He gets good shots of me, but I have trouble having them out for public consumption. It's good for me to be uncomfortable that way I think.
I'm testing my feelings/limits/freedoms in the last couple months in a new way, as we stepped out of The Meeting 2 months ago. I alluded to it here, but wasn't ready to talk about it. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, especially the 'call my parents and tell them' part, knowing the incredible depth of their disappointment and sorrow over it. They've been remarkably gracious and non-guilt-tripping about it, which I'm thankful for.
The day we talked to the local assembly about it was the best time I've ever had there. An open, energetic discussion, much more agreement than I'd imagined, no acrimony/judgment at all, and we stayed for lunch ... a spontaneous first. I left there feeling absolutely exhilarated, free, and floating on air. The next week I crashed, going through the Telling the Parents part, and mourning the rift it puts between us. They won't ever treat or love me differently, but I don't believe the disappointment will ever go away. Given the 36 years I spent with the group, I do understand that.
I've been heading this direction slowly since I was about 20. With the first big 'split' that happened I started to really question the "we're the only place the Lord is in the midst (in a special way)" teaching, and reached the point several years ago where I couldn't stand it anymore. I'd started acting on my belief that the Lord could be in the midst of any believers who call on the Lord out of a pure heart, and felt a tremendous joy/guilt in it. Guilt in that I'd been told all my life it was wrong to have communion with anyone not 'gathered' like I was, but joy in sharing Christ with other friends. I can't draw the lines between us/them like I was taught, and am tired of tripping over them. I feel forced into withdrawing, though I'd rather just have fellowship with most of the group I left, when I felt led to, along with the other believers I run across who want to have fellowship. It's become something it wasn't when I was young, and something that I can't be a part of.
I'm incredibly happy with the decision, and feel free in ways I never thought I would. I'll probably drop in to the meeting in Addison when I'm there, to see many real friends, and the first time will probably be hard and emotional. But I have no regrets. The fellowship I have had in the last two months has been sweeter and more real to me than almost any in the last 10 years. I look forward to whatever is next. We have no desire to join another group whatsoever, and while that scares the part of me used to a 'ready-made' network, it's by far the healthiest thing at the moment.