Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Least and The Greatest.

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.
-Thomas Merton

Hello my darlings.
It's been awhile.
Two months ago, I was thinking that once the sky cleared and I set off on my new-found path for the year, I would have plenty of time to write, and to keep posting on this blog. But let me tell you, there are not enough hours in the day.
It's hard to put life into a nutshell. But here goes:
I was feeling a little restless this summer. (Could you tell?) So I applied to a Volunteer Program that many of my friends and many marvelous people have been apart of. The Augustinian Volunteers is a small service program affiliated with the Augustinian Friars.
On a Tuesday night in Boulder, I found out that I was accepted into the program.
On that Friday morning, I set out for Georgia, having packed away my life, bade farewell to my roommate (who wasn't even in the state...), posted my furniture on Craigslist, and haphazardly left goodbye messages for my friends and employer.
What can I say? Spontaneity suits me.
A week later, I was flying back to Philadelphia, car-less, job-less, taking only what I could carry, and having no idea what my year would bring.
I hadn't yet found Thomas Merton. But it seems he often felt the same way I did on that three-day drive across the country, or that unending flight to Philadelphia. It isn't always about having the most well-lit path. It's about having a little courage, hope, and faith, that you're gonna be alright.
Long story short, after three years in the corporate America airline marketing world, and a year of happy-go-luckifying in Boulder with writing and singing taking the place of bread and butter, I am now teaching. In an elementary school. In the Pre-K classroom.
Multiple savvy, Chesley-knowing friends had the following comment: "Do you even LIKE children?"
My pre-service answer: "I don't really know...."
Well, let me tell you, dearlings, my kiddies are darling.
But more on all those details later.

Here's the thing. Some people think I'm a little crazy. Others, who know me better, just flat-out KNOW that I'm a little crazy. No, I don't make plans very well. Yes, I make gut decisions, snap decisions, spontaneously dedicating myself to something in a matter of moments. And I'm really, really good at staying afloat, rolling with the punches, working on the fly, accentuating the positive, figuring it out, staying on top, and smiling all the while when I find myself embarking on something strange, different, and new.
What is most important about this new decision, to take another radical life-course-change and put everything on hold (including my anemic bank account) for a year of service, is this:

Once upon a time, the only person I had to get out of bed for in the morning was me. The amazing difference in the state of my mind, heart, and soul, now that I'm crawling out of bed in the morning (albeit at 5:55 AM) for someone else (a whole lot of little someone elses) is almost beyond words. Life was, for awhile, like looking in a mirror all the time. Now it's more like looking through a window. I see a little of my own reflection, but also the gorgeous things that lay beyond the pane.

The Least are those that I am serving. And I will talk more on that soon.
But in order to make this change, I had to go a little old-school... like New Testament old school. Thomas Merton spoke of having Faith and Hope when life is uncertain. But to channel that Faith and Hope, one must have Love, the Greatest of These.

And I turn to St. Augustine for an explanation of Love...

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
-St. Augustine.

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