Thursday, March 3, 2016

Transitions, Lenten Journeys, and New Life for the Ol' Blog

Hi friends -- it's been too long since I've posted regularly on here. If you're still reading, thanks for sticking with me!

You might already know, but this has been a time of massive transition for me. Leigh and I graduated in May and got married in September; by October we'd moved to Georgetown University to begin a new position together as Chaplains-in-Residence in the New South freshman residence hall. During that same time period, I served for a semester as the interim United Methodist Chaplain at American University, since our full-time chaplain was on sabbatical for the semester. I also came on as a board member for Friends of Sabeel North America. Leigh started another new job during that semester. And we were both TAing classes at Wesley Seminary. It was a full and rich semester. It was also tremendously busy, and more than a little overwhelming.

As the new year began, I started to realize that I needed to take a deep breath and step back from a few things. I've learned before that I need to take some care with myself, to not get in over my head emotionally and mentally. It's a health issue for me, and it's also a soul issue. When I'm overwhelmed, I don't function well, and I don't love well, either.

Because of that, and because of some other discernment that I've been doing, I made a tough decision. I've stepped down from my position as an Associate Chaplain at AU.* February 28th was my last Sunday there. I'm sad, and will miss a community that I've been part of for a long time -- four years in an official capacity, but really more like 7 years, since I first came to DC. I also feel a sense of peace about the decision, and am excited to see how that ministry is going to continue to grow in love, service, and welcome.

This was definitely a big decision for me, but it's just one part of a deeper and wider sense I've had that I'm in a time of transition and need to, for lack of a more eloquent word, do this transition. Getting married, moving together with Leigh to start a shared position, and most recently getting a dog** -- these are big, big shifts from where I was a few years ago. I think I need some time to honor that. Some time to learn how to be a husband (and a puppy dad) and to take some breaths before plunging into whatever the next adventure is going to be.

And I suppose that's the Lenten practice that I've taken up, to be in this, to be mindful of this journey I'm on. William Bridges suggests two questions for people who are in transition, particularly work transition: "What is it time to let go of in my life right now?" and "What is standing backstage, in the wings of my life, waiting to make its entrance?"***

So during Lent I'm pondering those questions. And taking some time to pray and to reflect and to write and to think.

And to play with a puppy, which sure helps.

Ministry at Georgetown continues (you can read updates from Leigh and I about that here), as does TAing at Wesley. I'm also going to be working on a few writing projects -- some of the fruit of which I may be posting on here. And I'm going to try to update this blog at least once a week, now that I'll have a bit more down time, so you'll be seeing more from me on here.

So stay tuned for more writing and thoughts here -- and if you want the puppy picture hookup, friend me on Facebook!

I am grateful for all of you, and overflowing with gratitude for all of the amazing opportunities and gifts in my life.

Grace and peace,

* Many of you donated so generously to the Next Generation Campaign at AU.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! I benefited directly from that support, and now the campaign continues to grow. The vision remains to support a new staff position at AU in the coming year. I don't know exactly what that will look like, but I bet it will be cool, and I'm sure they'll be updating the Next Generation website when they have more details.

** Specifically, this adorable puppy:

*** That's from Bridges' book Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes (DeCapo, 2004), pg. 87.

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