Sunday, January 20, 2008

From Here to There: The Journey of a Calling

:: Day 6 ::

Today was a little excruciating on the inside. As we were standing before our family at Court Street United Methodist, I felt as though my heart might scream, though I've been trying to tame it just so. Ever since I got the job, and officially decided to move to Memphis, I've done good work avoiding all the very emotional spots that I knew would bring me to the brink of tears. It's all happened to quickly, you know? No times for real goodbyes. [Pastor] Bruce has known for the longest, and though he's "ready," I don't think he's really ready to let us go. Am I even ready to let them go?

But, you don't really get ready, do you? You just leave a little piece of your heart with them, and take what you've learned (and boy, have I learned) with you, and spread it around to the rest of the world, thereby leaving the mark of Court Street on other people, even when they don't even know it.

So, we stood there this morning, as Bruce asked the church to pray for us on our journey, saying our their bittersweet goodbyes, I held it together [barely.] I couldn't look in the eyes of anyone but Bruce, for fear that I would really lose it then, bawling a little too uncontrollably! And I confess, I am glad it is over. I can't have my heart ripped out like that every single Sunday. Ever since I heard about the job (2 months ago,) I've been emotional every Sunday, thinking about what life would look like without the presence of this family I've grown to love. Ah, but there will be a new family of brothers and sisters. There will be new experiences. I won't replace anyone or anything, just add more family and friends to the email list and the "list" in my heart of those I hold so dear.

But a tribute, now.
To Laurie, who always had room for lunch on her calendar, and let us ask the hard questions. Who closed her eyes during the communal singing on communion Sundays, allowing the meaning of the bread and the wine to enter into a place I had never let it touch.
Bruce, whose passion bleeds over into everything he does, and always shared my excitement about a new idea, even if no one else did. Whose passion for reconciliation is evident in every area of his life.
Toris, whose gentle spirit is noticeable to everyone around him, and whose eagerness to learn and grow is all but bursting out of him. Oh, how I hope he is given the chance in life...
Tyquel, who perseveres and overcomes, and who encourages and believes, after everything she's been through, after everything... Who is proof that God hasn't left us here alone.
To Imogene and Yvonne, who love us with a love that warms every piece of your heart, with their good cakes and meals and good lovin' that everybody needs. Who have known the loss of a spouse, loss of control, and have gone to hell and back, and still come out smiling and serving their brothers and sisters on the other side.
To the Schramms and the invitation to share free food and laughs on their front porch, when I wasn't even invited (or rather, I was always invited.)
To JB and Mark, who never fail to deliver their hugs and words of encouragements, who love us no matter who we are and what color we are.

Court Street...... Oh, my how you will be missed.

Today wasn't easy. But the journey is full of tough, bittersweet, and joyous moments like these that make us who we are.

Peace to you, dear family.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

From Here to There: The Journey of a Calling

:: Day 3 ::

The house is a wreck, which is to be expected, I guess. But when you live with the world's cleanest/most organized husband, you kind of get used to the uncluttered atmosphere.

I don't think I'm a very good box-packer, either. I mean, I get stuff in there all straight and packed well, so it won't break, but I don't know how efficiently I use the space. I mean, I don't want to pack it too tight and put too much stuff in one box, or something might break, or just be too heavy to lift when we are moving things. I end up having two or three items leftover from each box, that I couldn't fit. So there is a buffet of items in a line on the floor, waiting their turn for a box.... candle holders, a few books, a jewelry box.
Mom was right when she said that you don't know how much you have until you start packing it. Geezam, what do people do with 3,000+ square feet of house? Just 2,000 +!! More space = more stuff. No thank you. [Please remind me of this later on in life.]

I'm having daydreams of what my job will be like. Will I have my own office? Will I get to listen to my own music? Who will I get to have cool lunch dates with?
Something I am very excited about, though, is having in-office coffee every morning!!! Do you know how much money this will save? Shooooo, I am totally keeping my own flavored creamer in the office. This is going to be fantastic. I have, however, become a little spoiled with french press coffee, which is kind of superior to all the rest.

Kim and Clifton and Larry and all sorts of other people are going to be within spitting (well, you would have to have grand prize in a spitting championship, I guess) distance, and I don't know what to do about that. Settlers with Larry (he promised), dinner with Kim and Blair, cookies to our neighbors.

This is another thing. I hope our next-door neighbors likes us. Even more, I hope we like them.

Daydreams. These are what the days are made of.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

From Here to There: The Journey of a Calling

Here starts my journaling through the week and a half leading up to our move to Memphis, TN, and the first couple of weeks after we arrive into our new house, in our new neighborhood, with our new (and old) friends, at our new jobs.

I could preface with a lot more, particularly some of my anxieties and questions and the conversations born out of those, but instead I will let them be revealed in due time through this blog.

:: Day 1 ::

We have packed 11 boxes, give or take a couple. The walls are becoming bare, and the guest room is becoming maze-like, as we maneuver our way in and around the ever-rising boxes that have nowhere to go but up. I like this feeling. It provides evidence to me that this is really happening, we are finally moving to Memphis. I'm not sure why I've been itching to get there so badly. Perhaps when I first left SOS (where I worked [and consequently, had a life-changing experience] during summer 2005) it was because in my mind, I wanted to replicate that amazing summer, but now, that isn't the case. I've been back to visit too many times to know that the feeling is gone. Michael Buble is now mainstream, and our choreagraphed dance moves are probably far outdated. At least half of the support staff is now married, and Larry is keeping the books. So things have definitely changed.

But perhaps what I've really been waiting for is the calling to come back to Memphis.

I hesitate to use that heavy phrase, "God is calling me," because what about the times I'm not 100% sure that he's calling me to this exact spot? Thus begins a string of questions about how well I listen to God, and my capability to screw things up. But then, I might be giving myself too much credit. Maybe a portion of Psalm 106 can help me explain:

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise?" (v. 1)

In other words, who really knows what they're getting themselves into? Who really gets God? Who really knows the extent of our means of praise and our deeds done for the sake of the call?We're doing the best we can, following the best we can, hearing the best we can. And I believe God is capable of the rest, capable of using my decisions and job and our next door neighbor to tell the good news of the gospel, the good news that he has not left us here to waste away alone, to just exist. The good news is that the way of Christ leads us into a fullness that is much more than the aquisition of wealth and security. It is much greater than making a name for ourselves. It is vastly greater than this rat race that propels us to always move faster and harder to make another dime, to climb another rung on the ladder of society.

The way of Christ is found in laughter and conversation; in meals together; in songs that cause you to close your eyes and breathe deeply; in innocent children who cling to you for their very life.

This much I know for sure: I am called to proclaim the love and laughter; I am called to proclaim the good news.

"Those things that are of value to the kingdom of God, look like rubbish and a waste of time to the rest of the world." --Matthew Clark (paraphrase

Monday, January 7, 2008

there's a change a'coming...

change comes like the splitting of wood
like the plow blade turns the soil on the ground
and the change comes like it should
you gotta die before you live
something’s gotta give for you to find
what comes after {sandra mccraken, "traincar"}

Oh, sweet change, are we ever really ready for you? It is the one thing we can't run from. Even when you try devilishly hard to stay in the same house, in the same city, with the same job, and same friends... change finds you. Some seek it; some run from it; but we all stumble upon it. Sometimes you want to embrace it, sometimes you want to spit on it. Ah, bittersweet change.

I got a text message from my friend Josh yesterday, expressing the bittersweetness of our move to Memphis, leaving behind the other ordinary radicals, otherwise known as our circle of friends, who keep us alive with stories of Kolkata (Calcutta) and Rio; old, dying men and spirit-filled children; dirty streets and loud favellas. They won't be sitting in our living room at the drop of a hat, but they will race on in our hearts.

What new stories will we find? What new questions will we raise? What new theologies will we grasp? And what will our journey look like two months from now?

you gotta die before you live
something's gotta give for you to find
what comes after

the beauty and the mess of what comes after