Lots of people in the past few weeks have been talking to me about The Fig. Due to the “lack of that one Ayres kid livin’ overseas,” I am getting the question, “did you forget about us?”
Instead of a simple “no,” I thought I’d write about my thoughts on this place that I’ve always secretly believed was God’s favorite “chill zone”: The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration.
My first ever memory is actually my baptism. I remember stepping into the aisle and seeing Father Paul. I was 3. My first singing memory is similar. I also remember stepping into that same aisle 3 years later and singing “Once in Royal David’s City.”
On the flip side, I remember stepping into that aisle after a rather heated private prayer session at age 16, when I told God I wasn’t buying what He was selling anymore. At age 33, I remember stepping into that aisle, genuflecting, and exiting the church as we said “goodbye” to everything that was Life with Granddaddy.
So, I got history. Here’s just a glimpse at what The Fig taught me…so far…as I sit below the Bell Tower and write this.
* If you treat this world and the people and things in it as you want to be treated, you’ll be doing your best. If you do anything less than that, you will be doing less than your best.
*Different isn’t just “okay.” Different is good. Be different because that’s what makes you who you are and that’s who we like…YOU. Not a version of you. We want the actual child of God named Laura. Good, bad, chunky, not chunky, laughing, crying, working here, working for the diocese, working for the national church, singing, acolyting, LEMing, or doing nothing at all. We want that girl. The whole thing, the thing God created.
*You were born a child of God. Even when you make a big mistake your senior year of high school with your best friend, this church will love both of you. Why? Because of this word “agape.” We have it for you and so does God. Remember that love we’ve shown you and show it to others.
*If you ever feel like you don’t fit in, come to The Fig. You always fit in here because everyone fits in here.
*God’s gonna take care of that whole “judging people” thing. Not your job. Not even when you think you know the best way to do things. When you are judging people, look at that first thing you learned, regroup, and say “I’m sorry.”
So, here’s my adult take on why I would never forget about The Fig and all it’s lessons.
The best boxes of crayons have lots of colors. There are lots of shades of red. Tons of blues. Some crayons have barely been used and others are so worn they are only stubs. Some are broken and I dip ’em in a bit of hot water, reshape ’em, and they are good as new and purposeful again. Maybe a few are missing their labels, but I don’t care about that anyway. Together, we’ll make our own names! When I have a box of crayons with all those colors, I feel lucky and make certain I take good care of it. I would never wish to have only green, red, blue, and yellow. Why would I want that? And, for God’s sake, I cannot fathom taking crayons out of the box by choice. Never. However, I can easily imagine needing more space for all my new crayons and coming up with new ways of drawing to make sure every crayon is able to shine.
The Fig – a box of 64 crayons. Remembering the primary colors that made us all who we were and adding new shades every day. But the outside of the box will always say the same thing, “All are Welcome.”
It doesn’t matter where I live, where I worship, what language I am speaking, or what I am doing with my life. I mean, how in the world could I forget such a place or…such beautiful crayons?