A Very Merry New Year
A New Years letter from me to you.
I’m pleased to share that I experienced a moment of pure enlightenment earlier this year. I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about reconciliation with a lot of different people and after one intense series of conversations I went to eat some crepes. And then it hit me: if we all made a conscious decision to eat more crepes more often, would we even need so much reconciliation in the first place? I haven’t had enough crepes yet to solve any of my own problems—let alone the world’s—but I am continuing to pursue the idea with great passion and resolve and will let you know how things unfold.
This epiphany came to me in July after I’d attended a conference in Croatia. And honestly, crepes aside, if there was one turning point for me this year, my time in Croatia was it.
Increasingly engaged in conversations in the church about if/why Jesus loves all people (I mean, he says he does, but he couldn’t really. . . or could he?), I finagled an invitation to travel to the Renewing Our Minds gathering in Croatia to see how people from the Balkans are intentionally practicing reconciliation.
I’m so thankful they let me encroach on their time together as Croats, Bosniacs, Serbs, Kosovars, and many others grappled with their identities and their responses to others’ identities. I found what I was looking for: practical tools to engage very difficult conversations that are both broadly social and deeply personal. But as an added bonus, my time away provided an opportunity for much needed reflection. I was incredibly fortunate to have some time at the tail end of the conference to go to Prague, eat nothing but crepes, and sleep for several days. (If you ever have the opportunity, it’s a very refreshing practice. Actually, I bet you wouldn’t even have to go as far as Prague.)
During this time away, two things became very clear to me: a) I was ready to leave my job and b) it’s time to go back to school. How those two things would happen was entirely unclear, but at least it got the ball rolling.
When I arrived back in Seattle the process moved more quickly than I had anticipated. As I recently told a friend, it felt like God just picked me up and plunked me down somewhere new saying, “Oh for Christ’s sake just stop it. We’re all so sick of your attitude.” Message received; attitude reevaluated.
And that somewhere God plunked me is New Horizons: a fabulous nonprofit that partners with homeless youth along their life journeys. At the end of August, I was invited to NH to help out with some event coordination and communications strategizing. I. Was. Thrilled. I’ve been working with them since September, and they recently very graciously offered me a permanent position managing their communications, marketing, and events. I’ve gladly accepted.
I guess they haven’t heard yet that I happen to have the same personality profile as Voldemort, because they really seem to like me. They want me on their team! And I really like them. The job change is really a big enough deal in itself, but it’s not the only development. I’ve found even more people who I also really like just down the street from New Horizons at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.
The Seattle School’s approach to theology is to acknowledge that we all have a story and that God is present in it. I think that God is present in my story. I think God is present in all our stories. This is what drives me to keep having those same hard conversations about faith and life that led me to Croatia in the first place.
And so it made a lot of sense to me to enroll in The Seattle School’s Master of Divinity program, focusing on cross-cultural reconciliation. I mean, let’s just say that God loves everyone. (No, I know, but let’s just say that God does.) What would that mean for the way we live our lives and how we treat each other? I’m excited to explore this and much, much more in the coming 3-4 years.
Many of you reading this right now have had a direct impact on my journey over the last several years. So thank you! Thanks for keeping up, for putting up with the drama (real and imagined) and for your enthusiasm for where this road is leading. I’m very, very thankful for where I’ve been and where I’m headed and it wouldn’t be possible without the unfailing friendship and grace of my community.
I start school in a week! I will absolutely let you know how it goes. Check back here to keep up with all the excitement along the way.
Many blessings to you and yours in the New Year!