Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
Waiting for transplant surgery with a nervous smile
Seven months ago I was in Santa Barbara, prepping for a grueling 2 week interview at the Westmont, where I was serving as Interim Coordinator of Intercultural Programs. This is my dream job. It was the exact kind of work I wanted to do when I envisioned myself in this field during graduate school. This job was the kind that I wanted to give myself to and it was at the kind of institution that I wanted to do the work in. I had the opportunity to teach students about social justice, helping them understand their intersections of their identities and what that means for who they are as they engage as a global citizen in the world, and theologically as they continued to engage their relationship with God. It was a dream come true. I also worked the hardest I ever had without community and trusted relationships to replenish me as I weeded through the murky waters of institutional politics and engaged in dialogue about issues of race and inequity. But I loved it. I felt purposed, and happy. Not to mention the fact that I got so much sun, I was as dark as I was when I lived in the Philippines. I was able to forge a wonderful relationship with my co-worker Amy, and found some kindred spirits in a couple from Indiana who I had a lot in common with. I lived next to campus, so my commute was 3 minutes, and I had some amazing students. I was living out a lot of things I had been reading and studying about in graduate school.
A few months ago, I started to realize I hadn’t been dreaming of travel as much as I had before. Part of that reason was because every time I wanted to travel, I had to call the dialysis center, tell them I wanted to travel, pick up a travel kit and a letter to airlines and hotels letting them know about my condition. Then I had to call the company that I got my supplies and get my solution sent to all the locations I was going to travel to. Then I had to get a carrying case for my dialysis machine which always weighs over the weight limit for airplanes and then when I get to the airport, I had to haggle with the person at the counter who always wanted to charge me $100 to check my big machine. I should also mention the anxiety that I feel when I check-in too. If they lost my machine, I would not be able to survive. I literally need this machine to survive because my kidneys didn’t work. I think I can only count 1 person who was reliable at the airport that didn’t give me any grief when I travelled. Every other time, I would say these words, “I’m sorry this is causing you so much trouble, but the thing about this machine is that my life depends on it. If I could choose, I would not choose to be on dialysis.” ADA laws require that airlines help you with your disability, but it doesn’t keep people from have snotty attitudes about it. (especially in Santa Barbara, yeah I’m calling you out! While I’m at it, here’s the airlines that I flew on: Alaska, U.S. Airways, Southwest)
So, after I moved back to Seattle from Santa Barbara I decided I needed a pinterest board to help me remember the excitement of going to different countries, cities, etc. Most importantly, remember to keep learning because travel teaches you so much about people, the other, and history. I love it. So, I started to dream again. Continue reading
There’s a certain amount of ego involved in blogging. You have to have a perspective that you think is worth sharing. I started this blog in my mid-twenties, after a few major events in my life that left me pretty scarred. I used this as a venue in which I could get out the emotions that I was struggling with. It was great. But now I am not so sure I want to be sharing my perspective on things anymore. Honestly, who cares? I suppose people in my life who are wondering how I am doing could read my blog and know how I felt in October of 2008. But I’m not convinced that my perspective is enough to warrant someone’s 5-10 minutes of reading when there are tons of other articles that are more important to read. Political posts, New York TImes articles about health, religion, and culture, and other fascinating articles all over the web. Articles that are, quite frankly, better written than my little musings here on this blog. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of control. I’m asking a lot questions lately around what is my circle of influence and what should I just give up. It’s an entirely different conversation when you apply this question to different parts of life. In the various identities that I inhibit, this question often gleans different answers. Take for example my health care. (Which is what I’ve been thinking a lot about) Continue reading
I’ve been taking part in a one-year “fellowship” at my alma mater, Westmont College. As the year comes to a close, I am proud of the many things I have accomplished, but wish I had more time. When I began this year, I felt like I was embarking on a journey towards redemption. I’ve found, however, that I have instead, found myself learning how to be a better student development practitioner. I have many reflections to offer, but the only one I will offer here is that through this roller coaster year, I have found myself doubting once again if this is the profession I should continue in.
Since last June, I have been on a strange, difficult and wonderful new journey.
With most journeys I tend to take, there seems to be a large valley to overcome in the beginning. After I “graduated” – that is, walked to get my diploma, in June, I entered into a season of doubt and depression. I felt lost and unsure if pursuing the degree that I loved was worthwhile. Finding a job was proving to be difficult and after many interviews, days sitting on my couch with nothing to do, meeting with friends, having a small sense of a staycation, I landed on an opportunity I couldn’t pass up at Westmont College. That’s right, that’s my alma mater, thanks for remembering. Continue reading