Friday, April 27, 2012

airports & times of transition.

This is the third time in two weeks that I have been at Logan International Airport: to St. Louis and back for a week, and now to Washington, DC for a long weekend. I'm one of those people who actually like airports, mainly for the people watching. Airports also seem particularly appropriate for my state of mind at the moment: we're all just passing through; this is not our destination, just a quick--but necessary--stop on the journey.

At this point in my life, I feel like I am constantly going through periods of transition: from college to JVC to life after JVC and all of the questions that that holds. And I wonder what is permanent throughout it all. What is my final destination? Where do I call home?

At this point, so much of who I am is still wrapped up in the journey, the adventure, the chase. There's still a lot out there, and still so much that I haven't seen or done. The part of me that revels in the feeling of buying a last minute bus ticket, packing a backpack, and setting out somewhere new still outweighs the part of me that wants to be settled down, even though that part of me certainly exists too.

While there are a lot of reasons why I did JVC, one of them was this search for adventure that goes far beyond just geography. And that's something I will continue to ponder over the next few months in particular as I try to figure out these next steps (that hopefully do not involve the "adventure" of being unemployed, eek!).

Have a great weekend, friends. I have a plane to catch!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

being at home and the "what are you doing with your life?" question.

I'm home. And I have been since Sunday night.

Boston sent me off with an afternoon of beautiful weather, and St. Louis greeted me with a spring rain storm and an airport full of Cardinal's hats. My father picked me up at the airport and drove me home, and as we entered the city limits of town, I couldn't help but comment on how every time I come back I simultaneously feel like I never left and like I've been away for far too long.

Perspective is a funny thing. For weeks, I've been hoping that coming home would give me a sudden flash of clarity about what I'm supposed to do with my life after August 10th. When I have spoken to friends in the past few months--especially people who I only really catch up with every month or so--they have kept asking for updates, and I frankly haven't had many to give. My default answer has been that I'm waiting until I go home to see.

Slowly, I'm beginning to, but I have also realized that expecting a sudden burst of inspiritation is a little bit unreasonalbe & unrealistic. Much of my future is still a hazy blur. In some ways, being at home has just made it all the more clear how divided my heart really is divided between this mixture of Missouri and Boston and "the other"--the possibility of the unknown adventure.

This week has been wonderful so far. I have loved catching up with family and friends and just being here; honestly, part of me never feels more at peace than when I'm driving down these winding roads, with country music on the radio and the windows rolled down. That--and things like sitting on my front porch swing--will always be home to me.

But, there is always a part of me that still wonders. As much as I love home and family, right now, after the experience of this year, home might be a little too comfortable. Maybe I'm not done with adventure yet.

Over the course of this year, I have gone from being fairly committed to grad school and a certain career path, to very uncertain about that path, to where I am now, which frankly, is still pretty darn uncertain. But I'm learning to be open again, to not rush things in my heart.

I also woke up this morning to realize that I had been dreaming (for the second night in a row, I'm fairly certain) about the kids at Casserly House and navigating the T. So. I guess it's a good thing I'm not done in Boston yet. 

I have a few more days left in Missouri before I go back to Boston to finish out this year, maybe I just need to embrace them the same way that I have tried to embrace this entire experience, which is to let them just be what they are, instead of what I feel like they should be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

month eight.

Month eight = 2/3 of the way through! It's hard to believe that I'm already at this point. There's only four more months left of JVC, and I'm so excited to see what they will hold. I feel like month eight contained a lot of my favorite memories of JVC so far, and I have a lot more to look forward to coming up. From St. Patrick's Day to spending a weekend on Peak's Island in Maine to Easter weekend, I just had a lot of fun this month, which is always a good thing! That's not to say that it was perfect or always exciting. Some of my favorite moments were just being with my community and just sitting around talking about nothing and everything. I guess that's part of what JVC is about though--embracing simplicity and just enjoying being with people. In short, I am especially grateful for the past month and all that it contained. I'm thankful for the people I have in my life in a special way.

month eight.

st. patty's day prep. the arrival of the notebook. the most beautiful weather. enjoying our balcony. baking, cooking, and cleaning. green beer. late night arrivals. saint patrick's day. chocolate chip pancakes. running through back bay to sakshi. playing tour guide downtown. a trip to foley's. dancing dancing dancing. late night tunes. southie parade. jp licks. writing in the notebook.

post-st. patrick's day slump. a rough week. speakers and workshops at CH. friday night vampire diaries.
the hunger games. a bus ticket. a really bizarre night. stolen cupcakes. a first cab ride. life chats and popcorn and maggie's floor.

st. cecelia's and sowa. sunday afternoon naptime. vampire diaries season one: dominated. anticipation & counting down. new irish intern. ch gardening workshop. running through south station. riding the ferry. arriving on the island.

sunrise & sunset.

watching the sunrise off the coast of peak's island. long walks on the beach. homemade ravioli. being able to see the stars. lifting boulders. livin' like we're mayan, part two. rules 4, 5, & 6. life lessons. palm sunday mass. getting our markers back.

easter prayer at casserly house. judy bloom. taking chances. the best postscript ever. a day off. spiritual direction. cafenation. fish tacos and good friday services. cinnamon sugar pull apart bread. lazy easter weekend. easter services at st. cecelia's. planting herbs at home and planting strawberries at CH. community reunions.

Monday, April 9, 2012

a spirit of openness.

one of the most beautiful sunsets i have ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
peak's island, maine 3/31/12.

Lent was... interesting this year. While life-giving, more than anything else, it was about stretching myself. Traditionally, Lent is about change, about repentance, and about growing closer to God. Oftentimes, we choose to focus on giving things up (soda, sweets, or in my case this year, Facebook), or sometimes we choose to do something extra. However, some of the best advice I received going into Lent this year was actually from one of the Jesuits at SLU, via my former roommate, Kate: "We talk about giving something up, but maybe we should consider letting go of something instead."

One of the key ideas of Ignatian spirituality is concept of detachment or indifference. Neither of those terms have ever sat particularly well with me (I spend too much time being emotional and overly attached), so the terminology I prefer is being open: open to God, open to other people, and open to opportunities.

Of course, being open is easier said than done because being open does not mean being passive. Being open oftentimes means taking risks. While I'm getting better at taking risks, it's still not easy, especially when it comes to other people. It's never easy to put yourself on the line for another person. However, one of the most important things I've learned recently is that when I am able to let go of my expectations and just let things be as they are, that's when I'm most pleasantly surprised by God. That's when things seem to fall into place, not when I'm clinging to my ideas of how they "should" be.

One of my other Lenten promises was to go to Reconciliation; while I find this sacrament life-giving and meaningful, I still don't go very often. However, I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago, and I had a really helpful conversation with the priest afterwards. His main message: keep it simple. He also encouraged me to, "Celebrate some unexpected goodness that happened this Lent." Such simple things, but how frequently do I actually do them? So often, at least recently, I have found myself having a tendency to get carried away and so far ahead of myself that I lose sight of what's right in front of me.

On that note, something I wrote in my journal a few weeks ago has become particularly meaningful recently: "Don't let your heart get too far ahead of your feet." While I am still forever optimistic about the future and the possibilities it holds, I'm also still trying to be right here, right now.

And now it's the Easter season--the wait is over, it's time to rejoice and celebrate because new life is here! But what do I have to celebrate? In the most immediate future, I will be at home in Missouri in a week, which is certainly something to rejoice about. On the surface, it will be more of a celebration of my old life than something new. However, maybe it's a celebration that even though I've spent these past eight months far away from so much of what I hold dear perhaps there's still a future there for me.

Hmm, that's a lot of thoughts that I know are a bit scattered. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm learning to be open, grateful, and present to the current moment. And I think God will continue to keep surprising me (and laughing at me, too). Lent was certainly a surprise. Let's see how Easter turns out.