Archive | March, 2014

“Ask a Scientist, It’s Quantum Physics; We’re All in This Together”

29 Mar

“And on the subway
We feel like strangers
But we’re all in this together
Yeah I love you and you love her
And she loves him
But we’re all in this together”

–Ben Lee, We’re all in this Together

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geZehkuUvuk

            When I last left this white blank page, I was a woman on a mission. I had just returned from a venture to Chicago, where I finally concluded that graduate school was my next step and hence learned what I needed to do with the next month of my life. That was one month ago. So here’s where I’ve been, and here’s what I’ve done.

            When I discerned that graduate school was next in my journey, I had one week to finish my applications for my first choice program—a dual-degree experience in Social Work and Pastoral Ministry. I completed the application, and then took the GRE, securing acceptance into ½ of the program. Fingers crossed and eyes to the sky that I get accepted into part 2. Mentally, here is where I’ve been—consumed in the potential for further discernment and moving a little bit closer to answering the call. It’s a bit intimidating and more than a bit overwhelming, but when something feels right the only real option is to move. Or, right now, prepare to move.

            While that’s where I’ve been mentally, emotionally I’ve been everywhere but. Sometimes all I can do is stand back, throw my arms in the sky, and praise the One who  thought up this masterpiece we call life. Please excuse my extraverted way of thinking, but to show you where I’m going with this I have to let my mind ramble through my fingertips for a paragraph or two.

There’s this song by Ben Lee called “We’re all in This Together” (NOT High School Musical, come on now). In the song, he sings about how he woke up one morning and suddenly realized that your pain is my pain, your joy is my joy, and that even though we are all in different places, we are, really truly, in this place together. It’s simple. So simple. And yet it’s brilliant. Because what it means is that we get to share emotion, and it, like all great things, is a paradox. When you cry I cry—and sharing the load makes the burden lighter. When you laugh I laugh—and more people means more laughter. This, again, is why I stand up and praise the Master Builder and his master plan. Because we are all in this together, and we don’t have to go it alone.  

This month some big things happened in the lives of ones I love. Two Search friends shared their love in marriage, and my oldest friend gave birth to a beautiful boy. I made it to St. Louis for the wedding and Cleveland for the birth, and to share in the joy of love and of life truly deeply made my cup runneth over. Emotionally (and physically) this is where I’ve been. Dancing in the joy of another, and standing back in awe of the depth of it all.

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I’d be lying if I said those are the only places I have been emotionally this month. My emotions have also been about 460 miles west of here. Because even though it’s hard to tell when someone’s your last dance or just your last goodnight, when you wake up every morning to a reminder that you are loved it’s inevitable that those words and the one who sends them will always have a little piece of your heart.

I realize that, in theory, this blog is a reflection of my volunteer and community experience. But the thing about life is that sometimes we can’t compartmentalize. Service and community and love and meals and exercise and goals and dreams and relationships and friends all roll up into one big ball and we call it our lives. Just as no man is an island, nothing we do is in isolation, either. And it’s during times where the ball seems to be rolling too fast downhill that I really thank those closest to me for helping guide it along. Because I know I’ve done a lot more taking than giving lately. So to the Pitt Pals, thank you for entering into my chaos this month. We scream together and eat froyo and drink wine and dance. And sometimes, we just sit with each other, knowing that care can be conveyed without words. Entering into the chaos of another….there’s no greater gift—and no greater love—that that.

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Stomping though Healing Waters in Hand-Me-Down Rainboots

1 Mar

For my faithful followers that have been wondering if I dropped off the map, I offer you now my most sincere apologies. I started writing a few times this month, I promise I did. There were some great public transportation stories (I now have a solid friendship with my bus driver Tim), some inspirational car time with Karen, and an afternoon where the Pitt Pals and I cleaned out a wedding store for 2 hours, taking home a life size cutout of James Dean. There were most certainly some tales to tell. But each time I started to write, I felt like I was missing something, like my thoughts were incomplete. My heart just wasn’t in it—and I’ve never been one to do things half-heartedly.

The first half of the month was a bit of a drought. It was long, it was dark, and it was frozen, right down to the pipes in our bathroom. I was happy, but I was stagnant. I got into this routine where I went to service, came home, had dinner, sat around and went to bed. I thrive on movement, but where there is nothing or no one to make us move the motivation to do so is a bit hard to come by. And I was stuck.

But then I went back to Chicago for three days, and my life transformed from a drought to a flood. “Healing waters,” as Maddie would say. Or something like that.

My trip to Chi was the windy whirlwind I knew it would be. I was attacked by the love of all my people, never slowing down and never resting my head in the same place twice. The exhilaration of good friends and the chaos of the city breathed life back into me, reminding me who I am and what I live for. I’m not stagnant, I don’t wait for life to happen. I reach out and grab it. Is that not what I pride myself on? Has not my mom always told me that I am full of fire and life and spit? So what was I thinking, getting so caught up in routine that I forgot to move? Woo, child. I needed the Wind of that City to slap me in the face, and I needed it bad.

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 I carried to Chicago a purple backpack, some shoes that were most certainly not waterproof, and a heart ready to love and be loved by some of the people who helped form it. I left the city with that same purple backpack, adding a pair of sunglasses, some guy’s shirt (long story, don’t worry Mom), some awesome hand-me-down rain boots, and a mission. It was time to stop being stagnant, it was time for progress. So this week I am knees-deep in graduate school applications, studying, and plans for the future. And let me tell you, I’m exhausted. There’s nothing quite like going from 10 to 100 in just a week. But despite the internal anarchy and the occasional breakdown, I know that this is bigger than me, and that’s what makes it all okay.

Chicago was what I needed—I knew she wouldn’t disappoint. But while returning to her outstretched arms felt good, I couldn’t stay. She keeps some of the ones I hold dearest, but I am no longer limited to her grasp. Because what are boundaries for love, anyway? I left the Pitt Pals to go on my journey and I left my Chi friends to return, and my time with my parents was merely a tease. But I am certain, now more than ever, that love transcends time and space. And the heart, like God, knows no limits.

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