Inhabiting the heaviness

Once upon a time, I lived in Liberia. For almost five years, actually. It was one of the hardest seasons of my life, but I kept going back, kept choosing to say yes. I felt a burden: for the country, for its beautiful people, for the incredible kids I got to work with, many of whom became daughters and sons of my heart. And then one day, I left. In part because the burden became … Read the rest

living lightly

two weeks ago, i signed a lease on a tiny little efficiency apartment in philadelphia, a mere six miles from my new job as a second-grade teacher in the northern part of the city. one week ago, i made the official move into my new space. i rented a u-haul and packed it tight with all my bins and boxes and random items of furniture, ones that i’d stored at various places while i was … Read the rest

[slow]

life feels much too hurried these days. there’s meetings and appointments, deadlines, an actual schedule. i have to set an alarm, and the moment it begins to beep, my eyes fly open and i hit the ground running.

typically i do well with busy; i think it’s because i equate it with productivity. but in this season, busy is not my friend. it wears me out, wears me down. days and then … Read the rest

when i want to keep saying thank you

now that i’ve been out of liberia for eleven weeks, i feel like i’m finally starting to fall into line with the rhythm of life here at home. however, the pace is much different than that i am used to. days are hurried, though not necessarily busy, people preoccupied, though not necessarily productive. i’ve had to fight for quiet moments + be intentional about filling my time with what matters most. i don’t want … Read the rest

learning from the hard places

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as i write this, i’ve been home from liberia for just a little over three weeks. i am finally getting to the stage where i feel like i’ve actually re-entered life here in the states; at first, though my physical body was present in pennsylvania–as weary, worn-down (and cold!) as it was–my thoughts and emotions were in the land of liberty, thousands of miles and an ocean away. it was like a weird sort … Read the rest

when i have to say goodbye

i.
a pile of folded clothes sits atop the black suitcase, ready to be packed. photos come down off the walls, the closets are cleaned out and bathroom shelves cleared off. two large duffel bags, fifty pounds a piece, contain four years of memories. i think of the boxes and bins waiting for me back home and marvel at this, a life lived in such a way, packed up and stored at a moment’s notice. Read the rest

a new season

this week has been tough for me. my heart is tender and tired, and i have to fight the tears back multiple times a day. i’ve been meeting with the girls in my small groups, the same girls i have loved + taught + mentored + laughed + cried with for the past four years. i’ve watched some of them grow into young women, others from little girls to teens. i’ve prayed for them, listened … Read the rest