My YAV year has officially ended, and I am back home in Birmingham! Oh, how it does not seem real. As I unpack my things and settle into a routine in a familiar yet unfamiliar place I struggle to process the year.
After welcoming so many loving people into my life that have become my family it is difficult walking away from them. I was blessed to be a part of two fantastic congregations that I cannot say enough wonderful things about. During my last week of work I had many goodbye festivities and prayers prayed over me. I felt incredibly blessed but couldn't help feeling deeply sad. A year is really just enough to get your feet wet. It’s funny because I feel like I was just starting to get comfortable, just starting to find my footing, to finally form meaningful relationships, and now I have to leave and make sense of it all. I am happy to take what I have learned back home and start a new chapter in my life. But it is difficult to leave the city knowing that even when I come back to visit it will feel so very different. I know I have planted seeds and may not necessarily see the harvest.
|My YAV family :)|
I hope to never forget the spirit and light of the people in New Orleans. People there know what it means to be alive, to suffer, and to celebrate. Everyone is family. It is a place where I started to crawl out of my comfort zone and hear and see people for who they truly were. Homelessness became a real issue close to my heart as my eyes were opened to people too often judged and ignored. I realized what living in a community with five other people does for your patience/sanity but also for your heart and soul. I know what it means to laugh until you can't breath, to cry with someone else until your own heart aches, to see the Beloved shining through another human being. I learned to take my faith in God more seriously, to reach out and love people, and to be a person that can be loved. I learned to be a part of something much bigger than myself, humbled by my own humanity. I hope to carry this spirit with me.
Thank you to everyone who took this journey with me and who supported, encouraged, and appreciated me along the way. I could not have done it alone. The journey isn't over, just moving locations for awhile. I will keep you updated on where God takes me next. So stay tuned!! God Bless each of you.
"But what I would like to say is that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to a voice that says something else, that says, "You are the beloved and on you my favour rests."... I want you to hear that voice. It is not a very loud voice because it is an intimate voice. It comes from a very deep place. It is soft and gentle. I want you to gradually hear that voice. We both have to hear that voice and to claim for ourselves that that voice speaks the truth, our truth. It tells us who we are. That is where the spiritual life starts - by claiming the voice that calls us the beloved."
Henri J. M. Nouwen
Henri J. M. Nouwen