Sunday, May 23, 2010

...sometimes, things just line up and it seems like you can just see beyond into myth and meaning...

i have this tendency to have epiphanies in weird places, like the shower or on the treadmill. today i had both, and i realized how much i've neglected to update this blog with all the things changing in my life. i've been going with the flow, one foot right in front of the other. and that doesn't leave a lot of time to stop and reflect except, apparently, in the shower or on the treadmill.

it occurred to me (in the shower, natch) how far i am from the person i was even months ago. i am systematically dismantling my fear. i am looking head-on at my shame and my regrets and my fear of the life i want, and i am learning to be compassionate with myself and doubly-compassionate with my neighbors. i fail more than i succeed, but i've never been so committed to trying to make it past my automatic rejection of risk and anything that might show that i'm a person of value, a person with gifts.

in a little less than 3 weeks, i'll be headed to Arizona. i will spend 2 lovely days with my cousin Beth and then i will settle down into the risk i'm running joyously, fearfully head-long into. i will spend a week in the Sonoran Desert, doing what I can to aid migrants crossing from Mexico into the United States. this is the first time i can think of that i've been willing to risk much for a cause that i know will put me at odds with people i love. it's the first time i've been willing to risk this much to go where i think Christ is, without any illusions of being successful. i will not stop migrants from dying on the border. i will not heal the rift that exists between Americans and migrant Mexicans in Arizona. i will not repeal an unjust law. i cannot fix this. all i can do is be faithful and just a little bit braver than usual. i can feed people. i can give them water. i can make sure that they get their basic needs met for just one more day, until they move on from us. for one week, i can be part of a group of Samaritans, except instead of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, we'll use the physical and ideological desert between the United States and Mexico. that's a lot for just one week. i think i can do it, but not alone. please pray for me, for us, and for our migrant brothers and sisters.

later this summer, i will make another frightening and beautiful leap into the unknown. i will begin living in an intentional community centered on the property of my parish here in Chicago (St. Gertrude's). i've long believed that, no matter what my economic/work vocation is, i am called to live in intentional community. however, outside of my brief time in the JVC, it's a call i've found convenient to ignore. it's a scary thing to try to live with others and even scarier to try to use that living together as a time to build something bigger than ourselves. the people i'll be living with are some of the most wonderful, dedicated, Christ-like people i know. and i know that they will make it a joyous journey, even when it may be difficult for all of us. when i lived in Portland, i also knew i wanted to be in community, but it was so easy to put it off and not honor that call. having a group of people to whom i feel accountable and who's vision and example are truly inspiring.

it would be easy to spend time ruing how little i did to live the life i wanted in portland. but i am having so much fun now that those regrets are just an echo of what they could be.

i'd originally thought of making this a fundraiser letter and sending it out individually. but this beautiful community has helped us raise a lot of funds. also, it seemed more important to reach out and explain to people why i'm doing what i'm doing. i know that a lot of folks i've talked to have concerns, borne out of love, about my time in Arizona. As most folks know, I'm not a giant fan of conflict and not always super-great at explaining myself. But I am totally committed to talking to anyone about why I feel called to spend time in the Sonoran desert and what I hope to come out of that time. Feel free to Facebook or email me about it. I'll reply as quickly as I can. Thanks for all the support, prayers, and love you've given me on this journey towards this life i love. i couldn't have done it without you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

scrap-of-paper poem

[found part of this written on a teeny piece of paper in my purse today. i love when i keep things around.]

sometimes i think i'm in love,
but it's really just the blues,
sudden and explained.

i get thrown off-kilter
and everything looks beautiful
and loveable,
just because i think i'm not.

those blues
bleed into melancholy
and i could keep myself down
for days on end.

it's so much easier to think
that you've caused it,
that my heartache comes from
somewhere other than
this swollen, beating thing
in between my own ribs.

i'd pick love
over the blues
any day.
but sometimes,
a girl
just doesn't get to choose.