Here We Grow Again

December 30, 2011

What will this new year hold for me?  I normally don’t anticipate the New Year any more than the next person but this year, this year I get to grow up again.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have been growing up for years- we all have.  Sometimes I am forced to grow up and deal with the consequences of my actions and behaviors.  Other times I am forced to grow up and put my big girl panties on and come to terms with a world that is not always fair, loving and gentle.  And still there are those times when I look out at the coming year while also looking back at the current year and it is in that sweet spot that hindsight comes into focus and allows one to contemplate.  What am i contemplating?  For starters:  how will this next year be different? How can I avoid the pitfalls, the hurtful things I did or said, how can I be more present, how can I stop and linger longer in the friendships that I have?  How will I choose to love?  How will I let my love be known?  These are items under consideration as 2012 ticks ever closer.

I think I might have spent the last week hiding from the new year.  Right now as I am writing it is almost 11am and I still haven’t gotten out of bed.  Lap of luxury?  Lazy?   Pre General Ordination Exams relaxation?  Maybe. Or maybe, if I am still enough, quiet enough- 2012 won’t notice me and I won’t be forced to grow up.  Fear can be a paralyzing mechanism.  And in writing that I am struck with the understanding that fear and nervousness are just misplaced excitement.  That doesn’t mean that I am not joyful or scared- I am both- at the same time when I think about what this new year holds.

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I will say that I am a lucky girl. I am a well loved woman, a person who has been blessed and gifted by some pretty extraordinary people in my life who have helped keep this journey interesting and entertaining.  I am also pretty fortunate to be able to take 3 years off from the “real world” and go back to school to pursue my deepest calling.  And by going back to school, I mean leaving a job I had for 10 years, a home in a city that my heart still aches and yearns for, friends who would meet me at the gym at 6am and keep me laughing as we worked out, sunsets that brought tears to my eyes because I was overwhelmed by the beauty, where music echoes in the streets and pubs and there was always a sense of “anything is possible here in Asheville.”  I believe that I will grieve Asheville for a long, long time.  Yes, I know, I can always go and visit- but then that makes me a visitor, a guest and no longer a daughter of the blue ridge mountains, the parkway, the trails, the French Broad River, the stolen kisses under the moon while walking along the sidewalks.

But, sometimes in order to grow, you have to let go and let the wind blow you to new and different fertile ground.  I let go back in 2009 and I landed in seminary.  And I have been growing since I got here.  Now I am preparing my root system, my leaves and stem and petals for another gust of wind that will take me somewhere new and different and fertile.  I will begin again the process of sending my taproot deep into the soil and pray that there is water and nutrients and sunsets and music and people who are cool with God, dreamers, planners, hand crafted micro brews, and a heart beat of hope that echoes in my own heartbeat, “yes, anything is possible here. I am possible here.”

ImageI will walk into 2012 setting up a new home while simultaneously leaving my current home and seminary family.  This makes me sad.  This makes me excited.  This makes me feel scared.  This makes me feel joyful.  I know there will be many tears in the coming months- tears of sadness and jubilation, tears of heartache and tears of great joy.  I was told early on in my return to the church that tears are just signs that your heart still works.  My heart is working, even as I write this.  There are signs on my cheeks and soaking into my shirt.

The days will fly by.  They already are.  But as I continue to stretch out in these last days of 2011 and take advantage of a slower pace before the new year- I stop long enough to give thanks to God and to those who have kept me company on this journey in whatever capacity you offered yourself.  I give thanks for the many hands that held me, that reached out to me, that offered me the warmth of their touch, the smiles and reassurance, the strength when I was weak and the forgiveness when I was stubborn or careless.  I give thanks for what 2011 has offered in ways of lessons and teachings, in friendships and love, in new discoveries and songs, in gentle sighs of contentment and laughter- lots and lots and lots of laughter.  For old friends and new friends. To the congregation of St. Philip’s in Laurel, Maryland for letting me be a part of your beautiful spirit.  To the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014 and for all the goodness that each of you have brought with you.  And I give thanks to my family- my Mom, Dad, my brothers and their families for loving me along the way, within the journey and during all the times I have grown up.  Happy New Year to each of you.

And so it begins…

December 22, 2011

Hi.  Welcome to the inner workings and the not so inner workings of my world.  I hope to use this space and place as an area to post sermons, threads of thoughts, streams of sentences that hopefully will make sense and perhaps create dialogue and relationships as we journey together through this big and beautiful world.

Some questions running through my mind at this moment:

1.  Why a blog now?  Hasn’t this been done, overdone and done again?

Answer: Yes, blogs have been around for some time now and while I haven’t had one yet, I discovered a joy in writing I had forgotten about during the past couple of years.  Filling out the Office of Transition Portfolio and several interview questions recently really got me excited about exploring what I truly feel and think and then committing that in written form.  Having the opportunity to write several papers about topics that I really love also helped stir within me the pleasure that comes from putting words on a page.  I am hoping that this blog will help keep that joy stoked.

 

2.  Is this pretentious?

Answer: Maybe.  I have been known to be pretentious.  I have also been known to come up with some stuff that really makes sense.  I am hoping that there will be more of the second train of thought and less of the first.

 

3.  What do I want for lunch?

Answer: Probably a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

 

4.  What should I be doing right now instead of creating a blog?

Answer:  Reviewing for the General Ordination Exams (notice I wrote reviewing and not studying- there is no way to study for the GOEs)

 

5.  What am I usually thinking about when I take time to let my mind run wild?

Answer:  Honestly?  Program development.  Workshop creation.  Plans that involve people getting to know themselves better, their strengths and gifts and how to use those to serve God and our neighbors.  This kind of stuff- making space to create and maintain relationships with God and neighbor- this kind of stuff really makes my heart smile with joy.   Whether this happens through music, workshops, discussions, hanging out in a pub, theological reflection, prayer, conversations, art, dance and/or worship- to risk opening up to the Holy is worth the price of being vulnerable.

Other times I am daydreaming about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

And sometimes I am just trying to be still.

 

And there you have it.  My first little blog.  Thanks for stopping by.