Monday, July 19, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

This is our last week. It's official - Mission Year is ending.

This weekend it really started to sink in. We're moving out of our house, leaving each other, saying goodbyes and going our separate ways. On Saturday we began to pack. Our walls are bare and lifeless, our shelves are empty, and our shared lives are being separated into cardboard boxes. Memories are flooding back of our first days together - sleeping on the living and dining room floors because we had no beds or air conditioning, using mattresses as couches until we had couches donated to us, bonding in garage apartments and the long road trips to and from Atlanta. Soon we'll be heading that way again for our closing retreat...

Before beginning our Sunday School lessons yesterday the kids sang a song for us and the Children's Ministry leaders gave us a fruit basket and thanked us. Our Pastor called us up to the front at the end of the service to pray for us and bless us as we begin our new journeys. It was our last Sunday at Ecclesia as a Mission Year team.

Yesterday I was struck by the incredible beauty of my community. I sat in service with the kids from Generation One before they went to Sunday School. The kids beside me played with my hands and asked me how long until they could leave. As we sang I could hear the pure voices of the kids behind me. I couldn't help breaking into the biggest smile in the history of my life and shedding a few tears as well. When they eventually filed out for Sunday School the empty seats in my row were filled by a loving and inspiring family from my church who have taken in so many children, children with special needs and who desperately need their love. The seat to my right was filled by Michael, a dear friend I met through Simple Feast.

Our Pastor gave us a great reminder through a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. : "...many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom." I thought about that in the context of my life and relationships this year. My freedom, joy, fate, well-being is inextricably bound to that of the refugee who struggles with English and with single-handedly providing for her children, the man sitting beside me who is trying to get back on his feet, the young mother at the end of our street whose husband will soon be leaving for OTC in Alaska...

We are all so completely connected and so desperately in need of each other.

Mission Year is ending, but a new journey is beginning. And I still have so very much to learn...

Thank you, Lord, for leading me on this journey. 
Thank you for the path that stretches ahead of me.