Decisions—making up your mind, choosing or declining—set one's teeth or electing to
Decisions—walking on the fence, or wavering between Scylla and Charybdis
Decisions—carrying baggage into the entire process
Decisions—between embarking on a path or walking alongside the path
Are you the type who joins every group? Or are you someone who trots alongside without being a card carrier? Perhaps you like memberships—and pull out your wallet stuffed with all the cards that count you as a member.
I've noticed that groups I support with money often send me a card the size of a credit card and it will say—Member Since____. I never joined, officially, never filled out a membership application. I simply sent in a small donation. It must be that a number of people collect these cards, trophies of membership.
Without even applying, without wanting in, you can have a wallet bulging with membership cards. Then there are organizations that demand references, the filling out of elaborate forms, and possibly putting you on a wait list until a spot opens up—that is if you satisfy all the requirements.
Joining a group is another type of decision. I once joined a group of people who met once a month to discuss Women's Literature during the Victorian Era . After two times of listening to people argue about the discrete period of time to cover and whether we should include periodicals and the study of fallen women during that era, especially the fallen married woman, I lost interest.
Joining a group can be perilous or exhilarating.
Some people identify as serial church joiners, trying out different pastors, different denominations—seeking the perfect fit. Others spend years in one denomination and identify themselves by their denomination.
Today I joined a church I've been attending for several years—active in the church, yet not ready to commit to membership. It's like I had one foot on one side of the divide and the other foot on the other side.
We all carry baggage into decisions—who am I, and can I drag all of who I am into this new relationship? My decision was sudden and precipitous, —"so many people joining, why not now, I'll disappear into the crowd."
It's not as if I stood apart in the church—I partook in programs, I offered a workshop called Christian Midrash. I prayed for people, I tried to enter into the rhythms of the church. But I stood on the other side of the velvet rope. Now, I joined.
Standing in front of the church, alongside thirteen other adults and five children, who also joined, I answered the questions, responded when called for, and my voice connected to the single voice of the congregation and the other thirteen in affirming our covenant. And as I read , along with scores of other voices, I allowed the wonder and gift of God's spirit to wash over me and I knew that the decision was mine—but God had set the stage. God's gift—a shove, a nudge, and a loving hand.