This Is Life in Motion**

16 Sep

“Well this is life in color
Today feels like no other 
And the darkest grays
The sun bursts, clouds break
Well this is life in motion”

—Life in Color, One Republic

On Saturday I was asked to attend my service site’s strategic planning advance in downtown Pittsburgh. Basically the purpose of the advance and the plethora of meetings before it was to figure out how to gracefully meld two organizations together into one seamless, financially sound non-profit. We put together a cohesive mission statement, blending two visions into one, and discussed how to further advance the new organization.

…but before I bore you to tears, let me get to what really matters.

When my supervisor (Karen) picked me up for the advance Saturday morning, I was shocked to see that she had dyed her hair another color. My supervisor is a warm-hearted, middle-aged black woman with a lot of spunk and a twinkle in her eye, but she just didn’t strike me as the type to show up with a brand new ‘do. When explaining the look, she told me that when she was reflecting the other day she distinctly conceptualized the notion that she was stagnant and needed to “move.” She didn’t hear how or why, but that it was time for her to move. So she dyed her hair. That’s one way to do it.

 On Thursday of this week this same supervisor and I paid visits to a few of our elder clients around Pittsburgh, assessing whether or not they would be good fits for our volunteer programs. I’ve mentally begun referring to these days as “car time with Karen,” because I learn just as much from our one-on-one time in the car than when observing her with the clients. On Thursday after some discussions on purpose and ministry, we listened to some Gospel music, each lost in our own reflections. The music stirred something in me, it really did. I felt a pounding in my heart, a call to grace. And Karen saw it, too. There was movement there.

Before I came to Pittsburgh, I spent a few days visiting some friends in St. Louis. One of them was participating in a Jesuit volunteer teaching program. As she was nearing the end of her service, I asked her what it was that made her year so unforgettable. She told me that she decided right off the bat to make it a “yes” year. She delved into things, even if they were difficult or scary or just plain bizarre. If you are too afraid to try something, not willing to move, you could miss a lot. And Lord knows I have a fear of missing out.

As a community member (Sean) reminded me in a spirituality night last week, when Peter saw Jesus walking on water, he was terrified. But when Jesus told Peter to come to Him, he did. No hesitation. Peter got out of the boat. He moved.

Today a group of us went to Kennywood amusement park for the afternoon. The first line we got in was for one of the scariest, a wicked quick metal roller coaster that I was petrified to sit-down in. My community said I didn’t have to do it, and I knew that was true, but I felt that tug inside of me to hop in. It’s a yes year, after all. And though I screamed profanities from the second it started until we pulled back into the terminal, I did it.

ImageThe Sky-Rocket, our first ride at Kennywood


But we can’t do it all. There was no way in hell I was going on thay spinny upside down ride next to the roller coaster. I didn’t even entertain the notion. There has to be a balance, one has to know their limits.

So, within my limits, I’m making it a yes year, getting out of the boat, and choosing to ponder the truth that this life is motion.


And maybe someday soon I’ll even dye my hair.  


**a lyric from One Republic’s Life in Color, introduced to me by community member Kim. Music’s kind of her thing. 


One Response to “This Is Life in Motion**”

  1. vanbeekka25 September 17, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    you and i are so awesome.

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