Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013: A Review

Well, hey, all.

2013 was a hard year -- the hardest of my adult life so far.  And yet there were so many good things.  To sum up 2013:

Light of the World Lutheran Church
I could do a series of posts about the gifts my internship congregation has given me.  I am just absolutely in love with my people.  They are amazing.  Since September 2012 they have let me into their church, their lives, their families, their joys and their sorrows, and I am been just continually blessed by them.

I get to lead Bible study with amazing women, and teach confirmation to some incredible youth.  Each week I go out for coffee with some beautiful and fantastic people.  I've been to the legislature with the Young Voices for Change group and watched my youth walk confidently into their representatives' offices to talk about anti-bullying legislation.  In worship we've done art projects and played tag and prayed for each other and listened deeply to our stories.  Every day I show up for work is a gift.  I feel too lucky for this.

Kids and parents together for Family Faith Night.

This is from the day I asked them all to write out their hopes and fears and drop them in a basket.  And they did it.

The dance circle that ends each Sunday worship.

Look at these kids.  They want to change the world AND they want to dance.
Living with the incredible Natalie Sintek
Natalie is a friend from high school, and she came back into my life at the exact moment that we needed each other.

Birthday drinks.
I got to live with Nat for five months this year.  We made amazing dinners, and played a lot of Wii games, and took her fantastic dog Gus for walks, and she built me a room size blanket fort for my birthday.

Aforementioned brilliance
She made me laugh constantly at a time when I really needed it.  She's one of my best friends and I feel so grateful just to know her.

Rodes and Lions together, finally
Two of my dearest friend-couples, after doing the long-distance thing, finally ended up living in the same city.

My Tumblr friend, fellow seminarian, and best bro for life Hartke went out to Boston and brought back an Ari.  I don't want to brag here, but I started a Tumblr poetry ring in 2011 that they joined and then spent a lot of time gushing over each other's writing, so I take a little bit of credit for this.

Oh the feels
After two years of distance, they're together, and they are just too cute and it gives me so much joy that they are in the same city now.  And we all get to hang out and play Donkey Kong on the Wii and geek out about Warehouse 13 and just be awesome.

And then there are the Colby-Rodes.

See all that joy?
Gretchen and Jill met in 2011 when the three of us were doing our summer chaplain residency at a local hospital.  Jill and I had already been friends for a year since meeting at seminary.  Jill & Gretchen started dating after we finished our rotations, and then Gretchen headed back to Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.  They kept dating through another year of school and then into internships on the opposite sides of the country, and got engaged in Central Park, and this summer they got married and it was amazing.  I got to read the story of Ruth and Naomi at their wedding, and give a slightly intoxicated toast at the reception.  Our apartment buildings are just separated by a side street, and they have been lifesavers on hard nights.  Their joy gives me joy.

All the seminary babes back together
Most of my seminary friends, aka "the babes", were on one-year full-time internships, and a lot of them were away from the Cities.  This year we've all been back together for our senior year, and it is has been amazing.  We have been through so much together--professionally, personally, academically--and we know each other deeply and well.  These are the women who have held me up and held me together.

Wine and painting night

Brunch before our first preaching class

Crammed together at Jill and Gretchen's wedding

Snuggles on Hannah's couch

Becoming closer with my mom and dad

In a hard year, Mom and Dad have pulled me close in their love.  Weekly family dinners have been a huge gift to me.

Me and Mama

Me and Daddy

Becky's wedding

My dear college friend Becky married her boyfriend Sasha, and I got to do the wedding.

Imparting wisdom, I'm sure

The much more important role of keeping the bride dry pre-wedding
Becky was stunningly gorgeous, Sasha strikingly handsome, and a whole bunch of our college friends were there, so I got to spend time with people I have known and loved for ten years now, and it was a huge gift.

Legislature vote
Also known as "that time a conservative attempt at scare tactics in 2012 totally backfired".

In 2012 a measure was put on the ballot to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.  We defeated it, by a close margin.  The sense of relief then was incredible.  The 2013 legislature move to then strike the existing law that banned gay marriage and make it legal?  That was unpredictable and beautiful beyond words.

On the day of the legislature vote, I ditched my Modern History final work and ran up to the capitol in my clericals and red chucks.  I was so excited to be there that I fell on the marble steps and shredded the muscles in my ankle -- it took weeks for the swelling to go down and months for full rotation to return.  Totally worth it.

It was an honor to be with these women that day
My home state became the 12th state in America to recognize same-sex marriages.  I don't have words for what that means to me -- that this place I love, where I grew up, where I came out, where I was nurtured and loved and supported by so many people, is now a place where I could be married someday.

Buying a new camera

I've always wanted a nice camera, and this year I saved up my credit card points and then invested in a Nikon Coolpix L820.

It's safe to say I am enjoying this investment.

The Current

This year I got serious about updating my music preferences (...not to say I don't still listen to dc Talk's 1995 album Jesus Freak, because why would you stop listening to greatness), so I started listening to our local independent public radio station The Current.  And then became a member.  Because it is awesome.

Spotify is also great:

Becoming a godmother

Dear college friends Catherine and Steve asked me to become godmother to their third son, Torin.  It is a fantastic honor to pray for & hope for & love this kid.

Therapy, medication, and Al-Anon

This year, as mentioned, has been hard.  A lot of the things mentioned above are what I clung to when I couldn't find the strength to keep going.  With the encouragement of friends and loved ones, I started going to Al-Anon (my one year is coming up!), found a therapist, and met with a psychiatrist who prescribed a low-impact antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication.

I normally don't share something this private publicly, but the above three things have saved my life.  Al-Anon has given me a safe and consistent opportunity to reflect on my life and my choices, and to deepen my relationship with and reliance on God.  Therapy is helping me heal the wounds of my past and make better plans for the future.  And the medication has kept me from getting too deep into dangerous lows -- so I have the strength and energy to tackle where my life is at now and where I'm going.

Approval & open assignment

I was unanimously approved for first call by my internship committee, the seminary faculty, and the candidacy committee of the Minneapolis Area Synod.

In a hard year, when I've been discovering so many things about myself and struggling with choices I've made in the past, it was such a relief to be affirmed that I'm still on the right path.  And, after a long struggle to acknowledge that I am quite good at misdirecting my own life, it's a relief to turn some of my decisions over to the higher church, and trust in the wisdom of many.

Which is why, when I filled out my assignment paperwork, I checked "Open to All Calls".  That means I could be sent anywhere -- all I want is a congregation and a synod that will support me as I am.  For someone who likes to have control over her life, this decision was terrifying and then unspeakably freeing.

The bishops make decisions about assignment in February.  You'll all be updated then as to where I'm headed.  For now, I have a map hanging on my wall to remind me of all the places I've been, and all the potential in the places I might go.

It's been a hard year.  And a beautiful one.  Here's to 2013 and all I learned, and here's to a better year in 2014.

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