I have been trying to find a good way to start this blog. I have a few half written posts telling about YAGM and how I got to Chicago. I suppose it's time to jump right in and fill in some of those details later.
Tomorrow morning (not-so-)bright and early we leave the University of Chicago campus and Lutheran School of Theology that has been our home for the past week and board a plane to Mexico City. Right now, as I'm sorting through mixed emotions of excitement for what lies ahead and some sadness at who and what will be staying behind, I would like to share a poem.
This poem has been read several times during our first week of orientation and each time I have found it very powerful.
Bring only your determination to serve
and your willingness to be free.
Don't wait for the bread to rise.
Take nourishment for the journey, but eat standing.
Be ready to move at a moment's notice.
Do not hesitate to leave your old ways behind-
fear, silence, submission.
Only surrender to the need of the time-
love justice and walk humbly with your God.
Do not take time to explain to the neighbours.
Tell only a few trusted friends and family members.
Then begin quickly, before you have had time
to sink back into old slavery.
Set out in the dark.
I will send fire to warm and encourage you.
I will be with you in the fire, and I will be with you in the cloud.
You will learn to eat new food
and find refuge in new places.
I will give you dreams in the desert
to guide you safely to that place you have not yet seen.
The stories you tell one another around the fires in the dark
will make you strong and wise.
Outsiders will attack you, and some follow you
and at times you will get weary and turn on each other
from fear, fatigue and blind forgetfulness.
You have been preparing for this
for hundreds of years.
I am sending you into the wilderness to make a new way
and to learn my ways more deeply.
Some of you will be so changed by weathers and wanderings
that even your closest friends will have to learn your features
as though for the first time.
Some of you will not change at all.
Some will be abandoned by your dearest loves
and misunderstood by those who have known you since birth
who feel abandoned by you.
Some will find new friendships in unlikely faces,
and old true friends as faithful and true
as the pillar of God's flame.
Sing songs as you go,
and hold close together.
You may at times grow confused
and lose your way.
Continue to call each other by the names I've given you
to help remember who you are.
Touch each other,
and keep telling the stories.
Make maps as you go,
remembering the way back from before you were born.
So you will be only the first of many waves
of deliverance on the desert of seas.
It is the first of many beginnings-
Remain true to the mystery.
Pass on the whole story.
Do not go back.
I am with you now and I am waiting for you.
In 4 hours we will head to the airport- though we have packed plenty- and begin a new mystery and adventure.