Friday, January 31, 2014

Paradise Now

"Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand it. 
It is wide open. The sword is taken away, but we do not know it: 
we are off 'one to his farm and the other to his merchandise.' 
Lights on. Clocks ticking. Thermostats working. Stoves cooking. 
Electric shavers filling radios with static. 
"Wisdom," cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend."

- Thomas Merton
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Life in Littleness

Every day as I walk through my neighborhood on my way to work, to a neighbor's house, to the grocery store, to the washateria, I try to notice the beauty and life surrounding me.

Sometimes I sit on my neighbor's porch chatting with him and playing with his three dogs.
Sometimes my team and I walk home from the grocery store with a cart full of food.
Sometimes we hang out at the park with neighborhood kids.
Sometimes I braid my housemate's hair.

Life radiates from the littleness of every day.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Dreams and Other Things

For the last year people have been asking me what I plan on doing.

I worked as a waitress through college, taught middle school for three years, lived in India for half a year volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity, and now I am spending a year in Houston's Fifth Ward with Mission Year.

"What are you doing after Mission Year?" people have been asking me for the last seven to ten months.
My answer has always been the same, "God is going to buy me a house and I'm going to move in with a bunch of other people and we're going to love each other and our neighbors."

This has been my vision.
It's a simple vision.
There is no complex theology.
There is no agenda.
There is no catch.

Move into a neighborhood, live intentionally with others in a household, love God, and love our neighbors.
That's it.

Although, that's never really it, because loving people is hard, hard work. It is the most difficult thing I've ever attempted. Loving people when worldview's collide, when theologies don't match, when dishes pile up, when bathrooms get dirty, when anger flashes and tempers rise, when your roommate becomes your worst enemy, when you can't decide on groceries, when death happens, when there is no personal space or time, when the neighbors you love are dealing drugs, when police show up to calm the domestic dispute next door, when your lonely elderly neighbor moves without notice, when loving hurts and it feels like this can't be the answer.

But this is the adventure I want to live. This is the life I want to live.
I believe in this love.

God has drawn me deeper and deeper into community, from Kolkata to Fifth Ward, and is now doing what I have been explaining to people. God has found me a house to move into in Phoenix.

There is really good potential for me to move into a house on the same street as my church when I move back to Phoenix in August. I am praying for people who want to live with me to start this community, people who are ready to dig into all the complexities of loving others, and finding out how to love themselves in the process.


In other news, spending time with my siblings and friends over Christmas break was beautiful. I became a member of my church, Trinity Mennonite Church, spent hours over coffee and lunch catching up with friends and talking about life, and watched a whole lot of Harry Potter with my brother.

When I arrived back into community in Houston, my roommate Taylor and I had a lot of catching up to do, so we spent our first Sabbath break together going on adventures: getting my bangs cut at this sweet Vietnamese salon, drinking Boba, riding buses, vegan grocery shopping, watching Peter Rollins sermons at a coffee shop, watching Eat, Pray, Love (my favorite) on our couch, and staying up all night discussing feminism, oppression, injustice, and faith.

It's good to be home.