June Letter from Associate Director Lindsey Hepler

Somehow, it is already late June, and the program year has come to a close. This past Friday and Saturday, the cohort gathered for Dis-Orientation, our final program for the year. We shared our “River Stories” with one another -- a practice of reflecting on our experiences of the year, identifying five key moments, and assigning a song, poem, dialogue, description, or five evocative words to each, and then sharing these moments with one another. River Stories are one of my favorite moments of the year, when the training room turns into a venue for performance art, and each fellow’s creativity shines through, and I feel the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst. Together, we nodded along with resonance, laughed at shared jokes, and shed a few tears as we shared our journeys through these past ten months.

Life Together takes seriously the importance of transitioning well -- of taking time to look back, acknowledging the learning and growth that have taken place, being present to the inevitable discomfort of transition times, and pausing before moving forward. Truth be told, my tendency in times of transition is to keep my head down, focused on the tasks and to-do’s that need to be accomplished before I leave one place and as I begin anew in the next. I have often looked up, weeks after a transition has occurred, only to finally notice that something major has happened, that I am in a new place. Life Together is helping me to learn how to transition with grace and intention -- how to be present to the people with whom I have journeyed, and to savor our time together until it fully comes to an end. Dis-Orientation offered me, and our fellows, that moment of pause, that last sweet taste of this particular year’s community.

As I look back over the past few months, I am deeply grateful for the fullness and breadth of the Life Together community. Our Love Matters house parties in May offered time and space for that community to come together in small groups across Boston, for stories to be shared, for old friends to gather, and for new relationships to begin forming. We extend our deepest gratitude to all those who hosted, attended, and supported these gatherings, and we look forward to continuing this tradition of house parties in the future.

This month’s reflections come from alumna Betsy Ericksen (2015-2017) and outgoing Emmaus Fellow Lily Luo  (2016-2018). Their stories, of the questions, agitations, and growth that they experienced through Life Together reveal that, indeed, the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit are at work through this program.

Whatever transition you may be facing -- whether it be the end of the school year, a new job, a move to a new home, or simply the shift from spring to summer, I pray that you would find a moment to pause and to look back, to acknowledge where you have been, and to enjoy every last moment with those who have accompanied you in this season.