09 December 2013

let's talk about feelings for a moment.

In Ashley's last blog post, she began with "folks, it's official" in reference to buying our plane tickets to Tanzania. Woohoo!

qatar airways…flying us from chicago to doha, and doha to nairobi

precision air…flying us from nairboi to mwanza

Well now, it's fo sho official because this past Thursday we signed our contract making us bonafide Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Check it out!

so this is not the actual signed document but an unauthorized reproduction of the signed document.

is it just me, or is the font not perfectly centered? it's kind of bugging me.

Given how far we have come in this process and the monumental life change that awaits us, I thought it'd be nice to share a little bit about how we are feeling in this blog post.

so true right now.

To borrow an approach used by our fellow Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Pete and Melissa, I'll breakdown our feelings using the following sophisticated and intellectually complex model:

Happy: Overall, we are feeling pretty good. These past nine weeks of preparation (orientation) have been a real blessing - a chance to hit the reset button, slow life down a bit, focus on relationships, and consciously prepare ourselves for the cultural implosion ahead.

We have become very close with the seven other Maryknoll Lay Missioners in our program, along with Pete and Melissa's two young children. Lately we have all been remarking how much we wish that we were all being sent to the same country, but alas, four different countries await our group: Bolivia, Cambodia, El Salvador, and Tanzania.

Test your geography skills by locating those countries on the map below!

Beyond the cool peeps in our program, we had the good fortune of spending lots of time with dear friends in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Washington, D.C. It's been a real gift to have this time together for  fun and frivolity before saying goodbye.

And of course, we are super pumped about the adventure that awaits us. I find myself uplifted and encouraged when I consider that we actually get to do this - move to Tanzania, immerse ourself in the reality of the poor, accompany those living on the margins, and live out our values in such a raw sense.


michael and ashley…happy!

Crappy: With that said, we are also freaking out. Moving to Tanzania? 3.5 year commitment? Are you kidding me? What on earth is happening? What were we thinking? Why are we doing this??!!!

Ashley and I absolutely believe in what we are doing and are fully committed to our decision, but that doesn't mean this transition is easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Saying goodbye to family and friends stinks big time, and we're pretty sick of doing it. Knowing that more painful goodbyes await us doesn't help either.

Plus, these goodbyes don't only affect us. The people we are saying goodbye to - especially our immediate family - experience a lot of pain too at the thought of our departure. Immense distance. Perceived lack of accessibility. Concern for health and safety. It all adds up into a burrito of sadness.

not to be confused with the ball of anxiety.

On top of the goodbyes, this experience is unsurprisingly already beginning to transform us. While this sense of transformation is super exciting, it is also challenging.

In particular, we have been challenged to:
  • live in the midst of chaos, for out of chaos comes creation - the birth of something new. 
  • maintain a willingness to be vulnerable and learn.
  • reflect on the systems and structures that shaped us and the effect on others.
  • never stay where we are, but to keep transforming.
  • be more like the baby chicken, and realize that another world exists outside our shell.

live inside the shell vs. life outside of the shell.

I can only imagine that the baby chicken freaked out in a I'm-not-cool-with-this-kind-of-way at first and rebelled against the change in scenery. Guess we're going through some of that.


michael and ashley…crappy.

But all is not lost. Freedom awaits. While we are struggling with a few things and goodbyes blow chunks, Ashley and I feel so blessed to get to do what we want to do. That's a special thing and a real gift, so in the words of Sly and the Family stone, boom shaka laka!

boom shaka laka makes everything more fun.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Michael and Ashley ~

    I don't often get the opportunity to sit down and just take the time to connect with you both and read what you have posted....so, there is an obvious delay in my response!

    Your ability to be in touch with your feelings and your understanding that they are just that -- feelings -- which are transient and ever changing -- so, your faith and trust in God carry you through those turbulent times.

    I have to say that the both of you amaze me and I feel so blessed to be able to share in your journey.

    Love ~ Aunt Eileen


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