I quit joining

When making a fire people like to join you, when cleaning the ashes you are often alone. (African proverb)

The dancers swirl, faces wide with grins and laughter, and I am on the periphery with my camera like a shield between us.

I've always been a joiner, from every play and musical in high school to every leadership activity available in college, every council and committee at work, every volunteer position at church. Until 2010. Suddenly ensconced from every role I cherished at church, I floated bereft with only one role left: wife and mama. I pulled away even from grad school, and let myself fade to gray as the blood poured out unchecked from the knife wounds of my sides. Where was the Jesus who promised in Isaiah to bind up the wounded and the brokenhearted?

I haven't joined anything since. I attend a church, but I'm not a member. I have a job, but I'm only on the committee that everyone's on. I feel the carrot dangling in front of me, and the innate, unquenchable urge to lurch for it: University Senate needs a representative from our College - wouldn't that be fun, to serve with the students? Nursery school at church needs volunteers. The children's 4-H club needs project leaders.

I sit on my hands and keep my face neutral. Not a glimmer. Don't let them see enthusiasm on your face. Don't give away what you were born to do.

I funnel the joining energy into hobbies, parenting, writing, professional pursuits. But it burns like fire in my bones nonetheless.

Now what, God? Would you have me be knifed in the side and still go back into the fray with the wounds fresh, the scars still red and raised, barely healed? 

Lisa-Jo's prompt today is "JOIN" - come "join" then?