22 May 2013

Checking things off

Presenting the results of the completion (ish) of my D.C. bucket list!

We have...

The National Zoo

The National Arboretum (I have an unusual affection for trees)

It would appear that columns are grown, not built

A repeat of an old favorite, the Air and Space Museum on the Mall

Annapolis, home of the US Naval Academy, on a very cool and somewhat rainy day

Featured but not pictured:

The National Museum of the Marine Corps
      - volunteering there was a veteran of the battle of Iwo Jima.  We chatted, and I learned he taught music at Stanford University for years.  "Go to the museum website  and look up my name," he told visitors, "Frank Matthews - they have a lot of old pictures of me in the war and my story.  I don't like to look at all those pictures.  It's depressing - I was so much better looking back then."

Not checked off the list:
A return to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum

What remains most important to me, though, is not the places that I visited, but the fact that I got to see them (most of them) with my parents.  After having spent a year in another country, getting ready to move 800 miles away, not knowing in which direction the next few years will take me - it was really lovely to spend time with my parents, enjoying our shared interests together (nature, history, being nerdy, etc).  I think we're all pretty confident it's time for me to move out, though!

Now there is a new list - Things I Must Do Today Before I Leave Tomorrow.

11 May 2013

You and you only, first in my heart

You have been partly privy to it.  You've seen the reflection of changes in my life.  How experiences - gifts from God - have shaped, redirected my life.

You can recap if you like:

Ok, I'm ready!  Except, I'm not...
Rewind: Israel
Israel Rewind Part 2
Hobbits, Koreans, and Courage
Middle East, Episode II

Over the last couple years, my desire to serve long-term for God's Kingdom has been growing, gradually but steadily overcoming my desires to do anything else.  When I got back from Wales, I had a swell plan: get a nice job with my nice degrees, make money for a couple years, then go.  Except, I was having a really hard time finding a job.  And my heart wasn't into it.  And the thought of doing the 9-to-5 for two years while my true desires were elsewhere was seriously depressing.

You see, I was approaching it wrong.  I thought 1) I need to be a " financially responsible and respectable individual" before I can be a crazy missionary, 2) I need to get my house in order before I give it to God, 3) Work is separate from mission.  I still wanted to go....I was just, well, sidetracked.

A few months ago I had the honor of fellowshipping (it's a word, ok?) with a leader of the Chinese house-church movement.  If you know what Back to Jerusalem is, you've probably heard of him.  A few of my closest friends and I got to have dinner and spend quality with him.  At the end of the night he put his hands on us and prayed for us.  This man, who has suffered for Jesus like the apostles, who laughs and emanates the Spirit, prayed for us.  Prayed for our service to the Kingdom, on the mission field.

And I thought, what am I doing?  If I feel God calling me, why am I still frittering away my life on "man's empty praise"?  It's time to be obedient.

When he walked the earth, Jesus didn't call only people with respectable jobs, people who had it all together, and he didn't call people to follow him part-time.  He called people out of their respectable jobs, he called people without jobs, he called people with menial or really terrible jobs, and he said, "Leave it all and follow me."  He called people to give up their old lives and live a new one entirely for him.  He still does that.

God has blessed me with the opportunity to get hands-on training in a city that I love with people that I love while doing a job that I love.  So that's what I'm going to do.  I'm moving to Alabama in June to start all this.  As a big dreamer, I do a lot of talking about the things that I'm going to do.  It's time to stop talking and start doing.

09 May 2013

Is it just me or does this tree look like a troll?

Ran across a troll recently.

Luckily he had already been turned into a tree.  Wouldn't wanted to have met him (or her) as a Real Live Troll.

Exactly two weeks remain of my stay here in the D.C. area.  Three weeks until I move back to Alabama.  That's three weeks of jobless, aimless fun (and some packing), still feeling like a student but without all the homework and the pressure of graduation.  Two years since I graduated from college, seven months since I came back from Wales.  Sheesh.  If I often ramble on about the passage of time on this blog, it's because I can never quite grasp its ever-fluctuating but never-ending march onward, as places, experiences, people slip behind me.

Which is partly why I aim to be a good bit more intentional with my time and my life from here onward.  I'm sure I'll explain a little more in-depth in a future post.