A couple of weeks ago, after a fabulous birthday party, I was on vacation at my home in the mountains of North Carolina. I spent the week and a half on the side of a mountain in a house that has been in my family since my great-grandfather. The property is surrounded by National Forest on three sides, and an Episcopal retreat center on the fourth side, which leaves a view of God’s undisturbed and magnificent creation.
Election day, November 4, 2014, was a tiring but exhilarating day. There are details of the day that I vividly remember. The stacks of clipboards, pens, and Question 4 info cards piled chaotically in our small office; the streams of volunteers walking up and down the hallways, cold but eager to continue knocking on voters’ doors; the excitement of reaching my last canvassing door at 7:40pm, with twenty minutes until polls closed, and finding out that a voter had always voted there but didn’t have a ride that day. I quickly called a colleague who was driving nearby, and we rushed her to the polling station, realized it was the wrong one, frantically drove to the correct one, and cheered as she scrambled inside just before they closed the doors to the polling station.
What led you to apply to Life Together?
A sense of mission, of wanting to explore myself and the world around me while listening for God's calling, which, in the words of Buechner, exists at the intersection of the world's great need and my great joy. I wanted to take a year devoted to exploring and developing my spiritual life, and part of that is meeting the world in solidarity and love.
What are some of your day-to-day activities at your site placement? What is your favorite part about your work?
Helping with our food pantry, being a part of our Mission Engage team to be church in our neighborhood, praying and preaching during our Sunday services. My favorite part has been the joy of becoming a part of the Saint Mary's community--the warmth and care that has been shared with me is incredible.
Living in intentional community can be both a challenging and rewarding experience. What joys and challenges have emerged from your life in your community house so far?
Sharing our weeks, praying together, and making music together during our Monday evening house gatherings. Challenges? Dishes, learning how to trust and communicate and be vulnerable, and learning to live with six very different people.
How is Life Together challenging and supporting you to grow in your spiritual life?
My relationship with my site supervisor had been rewarding and challenging. During our weekly meetings we cover not only the work week but also my spiritual life and the practices of prayer and worship I've been encouraged to take on. This was something I came to Life Together seeking, and I am glad and grateful to have found such support and counsel.
Who inspires you, and why?
Oscar Romero, Julian of Norwich, and in the literary world Annie Dillard. Oscar Romero's prophetic life and death, Julian's visions of God's love, and Annie Dillard's gift of tying the mystical to the mundane all continue to shape how my own faith and experience intersect with the world around me.
In what ways (if any) is Life Together helping you sharpen your sense of what you want to do after this year? What do you see yourself doing next?
This year has been suffused with a sense of being in the right place for me now, which is exciting. I'm not sure yet where I'm going from here. Last year I was in the Adirondacks. The year before in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I don't know where I'll end up next year, but I'm excited to find out when I do!