Trying to find Center in the New Year

“The experience is of an invasion from beyond…God’s first odor is sweetness…We are no longer our little selves. As two bodies closely fastened together and whirled in the air revolve in part about the heavier body, so life gets a new center, from which we are moved” – Thomas Kelly

Oh hey, Happy New Year!

It has been a long time since I’ve written, and the truth is, friends, that is because I have felt like hiding away, like not putting to light my lack of passion and inspiration for the past month. I did not want to post something entitled ” 10 Reasons Working through the Church Will Probably Never Work” or ” 10 Reasons “Vision” people should not work on organizational Details” or, worst yet, “10 things that just really suck about living in Medellin”. The blog is called “Betting on the LIGHT” not “Betting on a snarky sense of survival” for a reason.

I was hoping when I left for my erratic and awesome family vacation through Rabat, Casablanca and Paris that some mysterious filling would happen and I would be able to come back to Medellin secure in the rightness of everything we’re doing, and brimming with ideas and excitement. The truth is that being reminded of my love of the Middle East, being with family, French food and the wideness of the world did not do much for my 6-month culture-shock-blues. And so I’m having to do this the hard way, the slow way. Hooking into the “new center” Kelly speaks of, for me at least, is not a matter of one-time-decisions or spontaneous force of will. It requires sad poetry, breathing through moments and days you wish you could change, it requires reading from people like Thomas Kelly, Anne Lamott, old journals, and sometimes even the Bible. More than anything, it requires the support and love of friends and family, and continual supervision.

When you boil down any desire to make a system, country, church, whatever more just, restored, nonviolent, you ultimately end up with the desire for people, individuals, families to be  able to live loving and free lives. And so when I am discouraged and feel like nothing I am doing is touching the deep structural issues I want to, maybe I can still start with the basics: individuals. I have to remember that just as I love my sister and parents, just as strongly as I miss my friends and my comfort, just so did the victims and displaced people I’m working with love their lost loved-ones, their home-places. I still may not be able to get super excited about an organizational meeting or church politics, but I can at least remember who I’m here for, why in all its smallness, presence is still importance.

Everyone I’m working with is pretty much still on vacation until Monday. So I’ve been working, but lightly, for the past two weeks; largely scoping out retreat centers for MCC’s March retreat. Monday I’m actually getting thrown back in– and this year, I hope and believe, will bring some fairly important changes to what and how I do my job here. I’ll be sure to update you much more frequently and eloquently from hereon-out.

In the meantime, and always, my prayer is for me, and for us all, to find our centers: the selflessness from which one is truly liberated from the burden of being the mover instead of the moved.

PS: For those of you not friends with me on facebook, here are a few snapshots from our epic family vacation!

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About Magelette

I use too many parentheticals, tend towards run-on sentences, and am a terrible self-editor. That being said I'm honest to a fault and fairly easily enchanted, so if you're into that, read on.
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2 Responses to Trying to find Center in the New Year

  1. Kaitlin says:

    oh, jess. thanks for sharing. you are not alone.

  2. heikeqm says:

    Jess, Happy New Year to you as well. Sorry for not connecting over the past month as much as I had hoped for….not much of a support team member! Culture shock is a weird experience, especially when you consider yourself open-minded, willing to embrace the culture, etc. BUT when you move to a new country/culture on a longer term basis those things are not enough. Your core (who you are, what has shaped you) is being questioned and makes you more vulnerable. Ok, this is not very uplifting but what I am trying to say….hang in there, allow those questions to shape you, shed a few tears, find one small thing that helps you know you are in the right place and add to it. A comment my aunt made to me this summer:”It’s wonderful to see the woman you have become, it probably would not have happened had you stayed in Germany.” So, the tears I’ve shed, the lamenting I’ve done in adjusting to a different country…..I guess they’ve been worth it.
    I do believe you are in the place God wants you to be.

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