living in the tension.

I’m at the point in the year when I’m beginning to feel faint tinges of homesickness, which is, of course, inevitable. I left Boston city limits for the first time since I arrived here in August this past Sunday to go apple picking with my housemates. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a landscape of rolling hills, fall leaves, and open skies like the one I grew up with. Times like that, I always miss home. It’s difficult not to.

home: last fall break. 

If it’s not that, it’s text messages from friends saying that they’re at Cafe Ventana or the bars around SLU, reminding me of other places I love. It’s hanging out on Google+ with seven of my best friends while we watch Cardinal’s world series games in seven different cities; it’s the fact that we have to resort to technology to be together now, instead of just walking across campus. It’s seeing the Arch on TV instead of from my bedroom window. It’s going to church on Sunday mornings and missing 9pm mass at College Church.  I love home, and I miss home. That’s undeniable.

However, on the other hand, it’s already difficult to imagine my life before JVC, when all of this was just an abstract idea. When I’d never set foot in Boston, Massaschusetts but knew somehow that I was going to live here for a year. When the faces of Casserly House were just images on a computer screen instead of living, breathing people full of determination and curiosity with amazing stories to tell. When my walk to work was just an image on Google Maps instead of my daily routine. When my housemates were just email addresses and one paragraph bio’s on a a mailing from JVC. That all already feels like a very, very long time ago. I suppose that speaks to how much this experience has already begun to shape me. I already can’t imagine life without all of this.

apple picking this fall.

There’s a tension in all of this, between what I’ve loved and and what I’m learning to love. And that’s something I’ve been wrestling with: the question of how I’m going to take this experience as a JV and integrate it into the larger scale of my life. It’s a challenge to let this experience impact all situations of my life–not just when it’s convienent.

Last Sunday, the pastor at St. Cecelia’s (a place I really am learning to love, even though I will always miss College Church) closed the mass with a line about wrestling with the Gospel, and I think that truth is so key for our lives. Life is messy. Faith is just as messy. But if I truly believe the idea of “finding God in all things,” I know that He’s there in the midst of all of that. To see God in black and white–to see our messy realities in black and white–is something I think we are often tempted to do, but it’s oversimplification at it’s worst. Part of what I’m trying to do this year is live in the tension, the messiness, the chaos, and the confusion, simply because I know that’s where I see God do the most work; I know that’s where I’m called to be as I figure out how where I’ve been impacts where I’m going.

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