Patience does not come easily to me.
Of course I'll be upset, again and again, when I find out (again and again) that the Church is not perfect. Of course I'll be upset when I cannot protect myself and those I love from the effects of that brokenness. Of course I am broken, too; we are broken, too.
I am not walking away from this broken church, or from searching out God's intentions for me within it. Oh, I cannot fix it, I know that. But the church needs people who know its brokenness, the church needs people who are aware that it is imperfect, the church needs people with some sense of the damage it can do. To leave it to those without such awareness would be to stand by while it becomes more monstrous, more destructive. There is a time and place for prayerful standing by, for watching and waking, but this is not it, for me. There are those who must shake the dust from their feet and move on, but I don't think that is what I am being asked. Likewise, I am not here to weep and wail over the corpse. I am to command the dry bones to dance. I just don't know which ones yet!
I am also not placing conditions on the relationship I have with Sweetie. Oh,neither of us are perfect, either, I know that well enough. But we are not just happier together than apart; this isn't about mutual gratification. I know that I am stronger, kinder, gentler and braver with Sweetie than without him, and I dare to say that he feels the same about me. His beliefs are different than mine, but in being with him I am more like myself, better able to serve God. Of course it follows that the service I am invited (asked? compelled?) to take up will affect our life together, will affect him. We will talk together; I will pray and he will "mull things over"; we will talk some more. I will not coerce him or manipulate him, and any changes will be mutually agreed.
I have no idea how all this will turn out. I have to assume that God has some kind of resolution in mind, but I don't know what it is. I'd like to find out. It may take a very long time.
I guess I'll be learning patience.