To Fellows, With Love

(Preface: I’ve spent the past two weeks at the Global Health Corps Training Institute with 128 fellows from 22 counties between the ages of 22-30 who are spending one year in a global health fellowship in one of six placement countries. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please get in touch or check it out at: I made this post public in case it might move you to shake and shape and create the world in which you wish to live).

This year…

ghc whole crew

Photo Credit: GHC 2014

…This year will be transformational.
I know, it’s a buzz-word that I was skeptical of in the beginning,
but now I have no other word for it.

This year will look like heart and passion.

This year will look like finally living the life I always wanted to live. 
This is the year for trying.
Of doing it scared.
Of taking chances and seeking out opportunity-
and where opportunity doesn’t exist, creating it. 

This year I will look at life experiences, social justice, and stories
from many perspectives other than my own.
Because my worldview has vastly expanded-
I’m not sure where the end-line boundaries are anymore on this life map that I’ve thrown to the wind. Because this new space feels big and real and way more rich in love and wonder and exploration than ever before. 

This is the year for asking questions. Lots of them.
Questions about people’s life experiences,
the things I don’t understand, the things that move my heart,
the deep questions that unfurl streams of inexplicable beauty.

This is the year to say what I really want to say,
no matter how vulnerable it feels,

and even if doing so might elicit tears… perhaps even more so.

MO 2014

MO 2014

Because I’ve tasted life in authentic community.

Because I’ve seen how much more enjoyable it is when
we collaborate instead of compete.

Because people I’ve known for just a couple weeks have generously and bravely shared parts of themselves with me… and I won’t take these conversations lightly as I hug these truths, these stories, these gems close in my heart.

Because I’ve been inspired.

As I lay here alone in my room tonight, it’s tempting to start to settle back into some of my old ways, but I come back to the realization that even if this fellowship year were to suddenly end tomorrow, it will have been nothing short of transformational.

But it’s not going to suddenly end. In fact, with just two weeks in,
it really, really is just beginning.

And when those final weeks close in, I know we’ll say, “Hellooooo fellows,”
gather ’round the table one last time in solidarity
and exchange stories we can only dream about now.
It will be amazing.
But until then, we have work to do.
And I’m so grateful to do it alongside folks amazing as you.
See you in Rwanda…
with a soccer ball.

IMG_2752 (1024x563)

MO 2014

Free Hugs and The Art of Burning Like Fabulous Yellow Roman Candles

I’ve always been enamored by idealists, the dreamers. The mind-speakers. The norm challengers and status-quo re-writers. The people of second and 99th chances. The ones who stomp in puddles and sing in the rain while everyone else is inside dry, … Continue reading

These Days

These days have an aura of holy and messy permission and rebellion. My “straight and narrow” map lie crumpled from never quite getting the folds aligned neatly. I’m suddenly remembering that God allows U-turns and pauses at scenic overlooks; that flat tires are a part of life (and keep the tire store in business), that there are days meant for sticking your feet out of the rolled down window of the passenger side, toes wiggling around in the warm wind.

These days I’m finding that I’m less concerned about where I’m going to church, and how often, and who might say what and react in what way if I miss a week or go to that church verses this church. I’m more concerned with living in community, in the many diverse ways that takes shape; whether in Tuesday prayer group with new friends who’ve welcomed me in the faith state exactly as I am with open arms; friends who haven’t found their next church, but get that it’s all about community. Whether it’s listening to the man on the front stoop down the street mourn the loss of his cat and realizing just what that cat meant to him, acutely aware of the human connection and longings for attachment. Whether it’s lying in the meadow near a bee apiary with a new friend, pondering what it means to learn to love the darkness and the light. Whether it’s in biking 52 miles with a group of Presbyterians or finding community through Thursday night running group, where one can start to learn people’s names, people’s stories. You bond over running, and running itself is a gift from God; to be able to move and run and think and breathe. I find God here. I don’t need a Bible to be open or a “worship song” to be sung. I’ve found God in the sun setting over the inner harbor and in watching people high five after their kick-me-in-the-ass, that-was-hard-but-I-feel-great now endorphin run. Runs that get me winded and in pain and forever reminded of my dependence upon God.

These days I’m less concerned with how much I am/am not/”should” be giving to church and more concerned with honoring the poor with my time and finances.

These days I’m less concerned by how many hours I “should” be serving, and determining which social justice ministry I “should” be a part of and more concerned with enjoying God and finding him there. God of trees and flowers. God of Sunday Sabbath walks, present in my skyward gazes. These days I’m more concerned with tangibly showing the people I care about that I actually care about them with my time and money.

These days I’m less concerned about saying the “right” things about the Bible and more excited about thoroughly examining what’s actually in here; the wrestling with God of genocide, infanticide, sexism, compassion, the call to serve the poor, the celebrations and laments of life spent worshipping the Ancient of Days…

These days I’m less concerned with finding exactly what entails “God’s will for my life,” as if every decision is black or white, clearly dichotomized as following Jesus or not. I’m less preoccupied with trying to “figure out” what His will is or is not and more excited about BEING in it with God. More accepting of the fact that God isn’t going to tell me the answer to every upcoming decision in the immediacy I would like. More accepting of the fact that sometimes “figuring out God’s will” means taking chances and risking failure and saying goodbye to living the innocuous life. Oh sometimes you live so small, you hand-crafted Child of God. I’m ready to let go of talking over every last thing with God as if God just wants to talk,talk,talk with us. Instead, I want go get on with the DOING, the being, the adventure. I want to dive in, making cannonball splashes with this God by my side, daring me to do life with Him, daring me to stop being so afraid of disappointing Him or of making the wrong decision. Instead, I will blithely smile, completely confident that he can see all that I cannot, and that he is the author who redeems and uses ALL THINGS for my good; yes, even the deserts that I have created out of my own self-focused fear of taking chances, as opposed to God-ordained time in the Sahara because God explicitly sent me there.

So oh, yes. Freedom is coming. It’s just starting to arrive; I’m strapped in, seated inside the clankety rollercoaster, almost reaching the pinnacle now; in fact, I can almost feel the rush of wind and the ebullient, fearfully excited scream ensued by the velocity of the downward fall of the track. Oh yes. I’ve swan-dived off the diving board; hair now wet from the pursuit of exploring the deep end. But this isn’t it. Though I’ve jumped in the pool, I haven’t yet tackled the ocean and hey, I just discovered a pair of fins, so maybe I’ll snorkel, or better yet, scuba dive…

Because there’s a deluge coming. And I can’t wait to get soaked.

Yes. That’s what I’m doing these days.