February Letter from Executive Director Kelsey Rice Bogdan

All is dark and quiet as I write tonight, hurtling through the sky somewhere over Montana. I’m on the Friday evening flight to Seattle, a sleeping baby on my lap and sleeping strangers surrounding me. There is something that I love about this moment on a plane— for a few brief hours, a couple hundred people can largely rest assured that the phone won’t ring and the email inbox will remain empty. We have collective permission to push the “pause” button on our rapidly moving lives and rest. The peace is palpable.

Perhaps I’m in need of this pause more than usual. The winter and spring at Life Together are future-oriented times, times in our cycle when the treadmill of preparation speeds up. We must organize interviews for the next cohort of fellow— and I’m happy to report that five people have already accepted an offer to join us next fall, with another six current fellows applying to return next year. We are busy recruiting and selecting our host site partners, and then matching fellows to those sites. And we are moving full steam ahead in the planning of this year’s Love Matters house parties in May, so that we have the financial resources for our work of personal and social transformation to continue.

But in the midst of all that, I risk missing the opportunity to be fully present to the gifts of these people, in this moment. As they prepare to leave us in June, I always marvel at the confident, prophetic leaders our second-year Emmaus fellows have become. When did that happen? If I pause long enough to pay attention, I can see it happening every day— when they step up to build their own leadership skills, when they learn to claim their own voice, even when they challenge the gaps between Life Together’s professed values and our realities. And I can see it with first year fellows and Esperanza fellows, as we reach the point in the year when things start to click at sites, in intentional community, and in our broader leadership development work. It can be a very messy time, but it carries a sacredness that is easy to miss when you’re on the preparation treadmill.

There is another Friday moment that I love, when I pause to listen to it— the savory scents and laughing chatter drifting into our office as 40 Prescott’s fellows prepare their weekly house lunch. May we all pause long enough to savor those moments when the Spirit of Love is at work in our midst.