Recently, I’ve had this song stuck in my head. I love and relate so deeply to the lyrics. A significant part of my coming out journey has been more than just acknowledging who and how I love, but also how I understand my identity as a queer lady with more “masculine” gender expression. I’m a whole different girl than when my prom dress fit. I have zero desire to look or be like I was in high school. My body plays my guitar and that’s perfect for me. The bridge in particular is so powerful:
Oh, and nobody turns 95 and wishes that they’d bodychecked
Nobody looks back on life and wishes that they’d been more stressed
And nobody eats birthday cake and wishes they’d enjoyed it less
And nobody gives a shit if you rip up an old prom dress
But more importantly, this song has been a source of comfort and hope as I enter month 13 of searching for a pastoral call. For the sake of my sanity, I have not kept track of churches I’ve reach out to, interviews I’ve had, or sermons I’ve shared. Nevertheless, the number of times I’ve heard you were a strong second choice and we’ll be in touch (but actually we’re ghosting you) adds up as a slowly crushing weight, causing so much self doubt and systemic distrust that I rarely know which way is up anymore.
And then I heard this song. I have so desperately needed this song. I don’t get to control much. But, the agency I have is to thank God when things don’t fit. My trust in God tells me to thank God when things don’t fit. My experience of God tells me to thank God when things don’t fit. My need from God is to be able thank God when things don’t fit. Regardless of if I know why or how much I would’ve liked to have known it wasn’t going to be a fit months before I discovered it wasn’t going to work out, I haven’t found my fit yet. I’ve found many not fits. But no right fit yet.
Of course, I’m hesitant to say the suffering was necessary – for those who are totally different people than they were when they were younger, for those who struggle to find ways to live out their calling, for those who are stuck in the almost but not yet. My personal theology fights against necessary violence and pain. But at least today, I am grateful to be familiar with how it feels when something doesn’t fit. All of the dresses I tried so hard to love for so many years. All of the makeup I could not get myself to use. All of the shame for not knowing the options I have to feel and be my best self. All of the church buildings, committee meetings, conference assemblies, presbytery gatherings where I was not validated or recognized as a human being. All of the times my gifts in life and in ministry were ignored. I know what it’s like for things not to fit.
So while I still wait for answers, wait for direction, wait for fair compensation and recognition of my gifts, I’m doing my best to thank God for what’s not fitting. I’m jamming to this song. I’m loving my wife and walking my dog. I’m applying again and again. And in my waiting, I pray others who are also waiting, struggling, questioning know they’re not alone. I pray we can all worry less and love more. I pray we can hold on until that right fit comes along. Because I do believe it’s coming. And until that day, I’ll thank God when things don’t fit.