Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reflections on a Busy Jesus (and me)

We all know my life isn’t quite what one would call conventional

People often ask what a “typical” day looks like for me and I must admit, it is almost hard to describe. Each day brings new challenges, unpredictable conversations, and some sort of unexpected adventure. Each week can be like the top of the roller coaster before the hill. . . the anticipation is a mix of both excitement and uncertainty. But the days are slowly becoming more uniform and the relationships with our students more steady. And as I have always said since moving here, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else nor do I desire any different job or life. No, I could not have predicted this, but I would not change it even given the chance. I love this unconventional life. 

This past week the unexpected adventure I was thrown for a loop with was a nasty cold. My voice started to fluctuate between Minnie Mouse and a raspy young man, and though I was pretty miserable I loved that the students responded with the utmost compassion. Throughout the work days I was encouraged with an extraordinary amount of hugs and pats on the back. I got a lot of “aww Meredith, you are making me so sad!” and “you need to drink tea!” and “I hope you feel better soon!” It was funny to have the tables turned as the kids “took care” of me, when I usually try so hard to take care of them. It reminded me just how much I adore them and how lucky I feel to be a part of their lives (even though they drive me crazy quite a lot of the time!). 

It was during reading time last week at the Kennel when I was quietly working through my own battle of having so much to do and being miserably sick when one of our students who was reading Mark exclaimed loudly into the quiet, “Wow he had a lot of work to do!” 

Caught slightly off guard by this loud voice in the quiet reading atmosphere I asked, “Who? And what story?” 

He had been reading about Jesus feeding the 5,000 and he was honestly in awe of how busy Jesus always was as people followed him, everywhere demanding his attention. 

It was such a simple reflection and yet it moved my perspective. Never had I considered how busy Jesus was, how tired he must have gotten, and how much work he "had to do." As I considered this perspective I was reminded that the task list and the unexpected daily roller coaster was not made to overwhelm me, instead it was the significance of the work that was to keep me moving forward. It was the blessing of the interruptions and the unexpected, for these are the moments that open the door for God to move. 

As I see it, Jesus was a busy guy, but he never seemed to mind the interruptions and the people that looked to him for guidance and I want to be like that. I want to always take joy in the serving, in the giving, in the hugs and the interruptions. For what better task is there than to love on those that Jesus loved most? What better gift is there to spend our lives taking care of those who surround us in every day life, and to take joy even in the busyness? 

Oh yea. . . also I got to feed a tiger last weekend. It's a crazy fun adventure out here folks. :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Year of Meredith's Independence

2014 was, I suppose, the year of making Meredith outdoorsy. In the beginning I was an embarrassing novice, climbing over rocks like I was 185-years old and only operating on half of a lung. In the end I was leading hiking excursions (though admittedly still rather slowly), camping in my very own tent, and sporting a plethora of spandex hiking pants. Being "outdoorsy" is now one of my favorite parts of living in this middle-of-somewhere Arizona town, so I think it is safe to say that we accomplished that goal. Way to go guys.  

So, it is 2015, and a new goal must be made. I've thought about it long and hard, considered becoming the next best youtube sensation, inspiring people with my fantastic dance moves, and being less weird, but all of those fell to the wayside when this one came to mind: 

2015: The Year of Meredith's Independence. 

I am sure you are thinking, "but Meredith, you ARE independent! What are you talking about??" 

Ah yes, I know. I am independent in many senses of the word, but the road to independence seems to keep stretching before me as I grow into my mid-twenties. I am, in a sense, the 16-year-old kid that so emphatically demands independence but still wants their mom to do their laundry and make them dinner (metaphorically of course). Independence is great until I need something done that I don't want to do, which is where the damsel in distress card comes into play and I will admit, works so very well. 

But as they say in one of my favorite books, "Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case." (The Night Circus, 373).

Yep, those are my 2015 words to live by. Perfectly capable of rescuing myself (although if you boys I work with are reading this, I still don't mind you carrying the really heavy things, you know, just to make you feel extra manly). 

But seriously, in all truth, what this new goal really means is becoming completely confident in who I am and am becoming, not basing my self-worth on who does or doesn't "like" me, and becoming one with God in this season not of waiting but of acting. I want to be fully confident in living this life intimately with the God who created me, trusting in who He is building me to be, no matter who is walking in that pathway with me. I want to become independent of living into other people's expectations and live fully into the expectations that God has placed before, becoming fully independent by becoming fully dependent on my Creator. 

Its quite a hefty goal. But I think it can be done. 

I have a wonderful, quiet new home that is all my own this year, and a great resolve to use my time there to focus on the God who sent me to this middle-of-somewhere Arizona town. I have confidence that the year of Meredith's Independence will be a success as I press into who I was created to be on my own, and as I find peace in being exactly where I am supposed to be. 

Stay tuned to find out how it goes. I'm interested to see what happens too. :)