Dancing in the Threshold

31 Dec

The night before the new year is a threshold of sorts. It is the time when we dance in the gray between the past and the future, and in one small motion of a clock’s hand we are simultaneously a second, a minute, a year. Time stops counting—we become infinite.

Sunday night I once again found myself in the back of a bus, staring aimlessly into the unknown as I rolled from home to home. As the bus took me from Ohio to Pennsylvania I let me mind take me through my last 365 days. And in doing so, my heart burst open. When you look at just one small slice of life, a year in review, you’re able to subtly bear witness to the molding of your heart. You’re able to notice where you’ve changed, where you’ve grown, where you’ve loved. You’re graced with seeing—a little.

One year ago I was living in Chicago, preparing to embark on a 5 day silent retreat that since has left me on a path of faith never before traversed. I’ve dived to the depth of my own relationship with the Divine, with no sign of the bottom of the well. But all is well, and will continue to be so. Then, in February, I led a Women’s Retreat and gave a talk about women in the future—tangibly solidifying that I am a woman of the future and that it was officially time to leave the Ramblehood.

I’m thankful to the friends who fed my stomach with food and my spirit with life. I’d be sad and hungry if I didn’t have your homes and your outstretched arms to wander to. And I’m thankful to Chicago—who took me in as one of her own. I belonged until I didn’t, and she gently nudged me home and told me to Carry On. But we shared one last sunrise, and that was pretty cool. Then, just as easily as I walked out of Chicago and waved Loyola goodbye, I walked into Cleveland, always willing to take me home.

Nashville, St. Louis, Detroit, and New York City beckoned me this year, and I answered the call. Dancing on tabletops, climbing fences, eating and drinking with friends and strangers alike, living out loud. Not to mention being reminded, once again, the meaning of hospitality.

And woo, child, lest I not forget the love I have seen this year! I stood witness as my brother married the girl of his dreams, silent tears streaming down my face as I saw the pure joy in his. And then I saw it again…and again… and again…when Mike/Lisa, Katie/Matt, and Nina/Steve were wed. This summer, when my mom broke her leg and my dad became her caregiver, I saw a selfless love like no other. And my heart was changed.

And then there’s Pittsburgh. It’s meant to be, I think, almost as if this city reached out to me and grabbed my hand, pulling me eastward. All I had to do was move. I can’t quite tell you what this place has done to me yet, but I can promise you I will not leave here the same as when I arrived. Stack these Franciscan ideals on my Jesuit values, add a community that is as selfless as I hope one day to be, and throw some old people in the mix, and something powerful is stirring in my soul. I can feel it. Stay tuned on that one.

So we stand at this threshold. We gather here, teetering between who we’ve been and who we hope to become. I have high hopes for my next 365 days. Hopes for peace and for clarity, for knowledge and wisdom, for witnesses to and experiences of love. And for joy—lots of it. I have hopes for simultaneously changing the world and fully living in it, and maybe even setting it on fire if I can find some matches.

These hopes float up from my head and my heart to join the masses drifting through the air. Dreams abound tonight. Reach up and grab one, or two, or ten. Make them your own.

Big things, 2014. Big things.Image

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