On Monday our new Brendan’s Crossing cohort moves in. I’m looking forward to this year, this group of young adults and watching the good work they’ll do in our city. Most of all I’m looking forward to hearing about their dreams. We promise our young adults “vocational discernment” and have long borrowed the famous Mary Oliver line, “Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”
In preparation for this new program year, my days have been filled with applicant interviews, service partner meetings, scheduling for the year, and getting the ol’ Riddle House ready to once again welcome community. In the midst of all this activity, I find myself constantly thinking about programming tweaks to make sure we deliver on this promise that we’ll help our young adults explore their dreams and discover their calling.
With those thoughts in mind, I sat down late last night and came across this post by my favorite writer (disclaimer: I’m clearly biased). It helped me relax into the reality that if we create the space, try new things, and reflect on our experiences with an openness to God, our calling and our dreams often find us. Our calling may never become our job. The real question of discernment may end up being, “What is the thing you can’t not do?” or “What is the issue, place, or people you can’t not think about when you lie awake at night?” Below is Brooke’s answer to that question. What’s yours?
TIME HOP TO NOW
This morning TimeHop shared the following little gem with me. This is a post I wrote for a blog I had called “Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife,” back when my husband and I were in the thick of church planting, adopting babies and living in community. When I read the post this morning I was struck by the fact that even though those babies have grown into “tweens”, the community house is in it’s 4th or 5th iteration and the church has long since closed it’s doors, some things remain the same.
Two nights ago I was awake for nearly 3 hours in the middle of the night. I could have written this same post the next morning.
WHEN I CAN’T SLEEP (originally posted, August 2, 2008)
When I can’t sleep at night — which lately has been all too often — I toss and turn and fade in and out and all the while I think of Colombia.
I think about our Colombian friends. I think about our American friends who have Colombian children. I think about Victor and Yolanda, Susan and Ricardo, Isabel, Juanita and all the others who have touched my life in some small way. I think about the women who birthed my children. I wonder if they can sleep tonight.
I think about the children of Luz Y Vida and I wonder how Sister Valeriana ever sleeps at night. I think about the sweet voice of Treisy and pray she will come home soon. I think about the sad and broken eyes of the two girls with EB, a rare skin disease that makes it nearly impossible to be touched by another human. I think of the laughter of Claudia, Camilo, Mauricio, Tatiana and Juan David. I think about the way Jorge responds to Lori. I think of Johanna and how one day she will rule the world.
I think about the flowers and how they are always in bloom there. I think of how the sky is bluer than any other place I have ever known. I think about the constant crowds of people, the food, the sounds, the energy. I start to smell cilantro.
I think about how most Americans will never know that there is so much more to Colombia than what they see on CNN. I think about crop spraying. I think about coffee farmers and banana growers and greenhouse owners. I think about street children, refugees and poverty — real, opressive poverty. I think about the colors of the market on Sundays.
I think about how this place, these people and children, have invaded my soul. I wonder if I will ever be able to separate myself again even if I wanted to, which I do not. I wonder why God sent me there. I wonder why he keeps me awake at night thinking of a place I can’t get to without a day-long commute and a stack of money I never seem to have. I wonder what will come of it all.
Colombia has shaped me in ways I am yet to discover, like underwater currents constantly running below the surface, forming caves and caverns that will be there for eternity.
When I can’t sleep at night, I think about Colombia.