(yes… a month late)
My work with Second Church has been terrifying and empowering. Stepping into a family like the one here at Second, I had to calm my nerves each time I introduced myself to new people or joined meetings I had never been to before. Meeting new people is both a great delight for me, an extrovert, and occasionally nerve wracking. Since settling into the patterns here, I have felt the extension of trust overflowing from members. Now, my phone and email light up with invitations to join new projects, offer perspective, or share a story. My work here helps me feel as if I am finally moving in a world that has felt stagnant since the beginning of COVID. This movement breathes life back into me, gives me life, and creates such great memories. Being engaged with the celebration of God’s creation with both Second Presbyterian Church and Santa Fe Dreamer Project makes my life better, brighter, and bolder.
Several opportunities have arisen outside of my central work at Second Presbyterian. An education-focused retreat to the southern border with the YAV program reminded me that the world is not always gentle to its residents, and that I have much to learn about the disrespect to human life that the border activity often wields. Housing a man going through the deportation process has provided an opportunity for Second, as well as me, to care for someone outside of the immediate community. The connection between the Santa Fe Dreamer Project’s DACA clinic and the space available in the apartment owned by Second Presbyterian Church has been an important reminder of the importance of connection with organizations implementing care-based vision in New Mexico (and beyond!). Also, I would be silly to forget the deep awe brought on by the hot air balloon festival.
The earth and I interact differently since I have moved here. As a personal health goal, I spend time in greenery once a day, and do my best to hike once a week. This goal helps me reorient myself as one of God’s creations and feel thanks for the natural creation that God created all around us. The Sandia Mountains are a glorious method with which I bask in these reminders. I adventure frequently to the foothills, yet still feel as if 99% of the mountains remain shrouded in an invitational mystery. Roosevelt Park is a regular stop for me during my morning runs (alright… most of them are walks… but if I call them runs, maybe that’ll motivate me??), as is a nearby house which houses several chickens, ducks, and a rabbit. I seek out the outdoors and the outdoors do not disappoint.
I have a new appreciation for sunshine and networks of support. I feel the warmth of this community each time someone inquires about my life or asks me to join in on new projects/events/celebrations. I feel the warmth of the church when Rob Woodruff or Frank Cavalier bring their dogs to sit with me at work. I feel the warmth of the church each cold winter night when I see the glorious quilt Pat Gilberto made for me keeping out the chilly weather. I feel the warmth of the church when I hold the pepper spray from Jim Lechtenberger as I go on my morning walks. I feel the warmth of the church when I sit in the peace garden, surrounded by rosemary and memories of people I do not know but who loved you all so deeply. I am grateful for the warmth of this new place, especially in the midst of a brisk winter.
I want to extend a challenge to you all to find and reminisce in the warm places that God has made in your life. Sometimes these moments are as simple as sharing a pot of hot water, visiting your local neighborhood front-yard pets (chickens, dogs, and roadrunners alike), and creating a goody bag for a person experiencing homelessness. Sit in spaces of discomfort in your life and offer a fresh, appreciative perspective to them. Write in a journal. Look up a video on how to play the ukulele (then try it!). Make a new kind of cookie. Get on a support committee for the children’s sermon, a mission project, or a church infrastructure revitalization project. Fail at something simple and giggle about it.
You all teach me each day that the space offered to each of us is endless. The limits we sometimes feel in this world can be shifted with a little stretch and a purposeful practice in trying something new. STRETCH. Be WARM. RECONSIDER something you thought you knew. REJOICE in something you love.
In this New Year, I offer this challenge alongside a deep thank you for these wonderful past 4 (ish) months. Cannot wait to spend several more in ABQ!