Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday afternoon musings. . .

Hello everyone! Greetings from New Orleans! I hope that this afternoon is sunny and beautiful where you are, but judging from the cool weather here, I'm imagining it's not too warm at home :)

I know I've mentioned to several of you recently how amazed I am at how quickly my time here seems to be passing, but I just can't get over it! I am both saddened and excited at the thought of returning home in a little over three weeks. I have definitely moved past the initial phase of being overwhelmed by all of the new and interesting things here, and have started to miss each of you very, very much. But, that's not to say that I'm not still having a great time :)

This week we hosted a team from Minnesota, as well as a group of graduate students from Harvard (and one from MIT). I have to admit that before the Harvard group arrived I was nervous about whether or not I'd be able to interact with them, but of course they were wonderful people, and now I have a bunch of new friends from a variety of different countries!(China, Singapore, Ireland, Norway, Germany and Korea to name a few). Thanks to everyone from Minnesota and Harvard for making this a wonderful "week 6"!

So with that said, here's what's been on my mind today. . .
Saturday's are a really strange day here in the Yellow House. Typically I spend the first half of the day saying goodbye to all of my new friends (usually over a period of several hours). Then the house finally gets quiet and I can relax, but it's only a matter of time before I need to begin to mentally prepare for the new group that will arrive the following day.

On Sunday and Monday I spend the day trying to memorize names and figure out who's from what team. By Tuesday I can start to see who's who in the group (including who is most likely to be helpful and/or clean up after themselves), and that's when I try to do my "individual interrogations", where I fire off a series of questions to any volunteer whom I manage to corner :). By Wednesday I start to actually have a relationship with each person as an individual, and as Katie puts it, by then I know each volunteer's life story :) Thursday and Friday are usually the best days, because that's when the teams finally begin to include us into their free time (this week Minnesota took us out for ice cream, and Harvard took us to dinner) and usually in the evenings we spend some time playing games or talking. But then, wouldn't you know it, we're back to Saturday. . .

One of the team members asked me today how I can meet new people every week and then say goodbye, and I realized how hard it really has been on me. For instance, this morning the Harvard group left in about four different shifts, and I inadvertently missed one of the "goodbyes" because the group left early. I was really upset that I didn't get to see them off. I started to realize that while a lot of the work I do here is very physically draining, it's very emotionally draining as well.

Because most of you reading this were part of EPIC, you know what a major shift we have had in our social circle over the last year as a result of people moving, leaving the church, and EPIC ending. I have had a very difficult adjusting to this shift, and have often felt like many of my friends have all "migrated" out of my life. I know that one of the things that I was most looking forward to about coming down here was the chance to meet a whole bunch of new people. I see now that what I thought would be a relief from the situation at home is actually a condensed version of the same experience :) I do not regret either experience in the slightest bit, but I realize that they both bring with them the good and the bad.

I guess what I am learning here are a couple of valuable lessons: number one, "the only thing that never changes is that things always change" (and if you want to know my feelings on change, just ask my mother -- i'm rarely a fan of it :)) Number two, I am learning that the situation I am currently in is both an extrovert's dream (because I am constantly surrounded by people) and a relational person's nightmare (because I am continuously investing in one week relationships that will inevitably end).

I think the lesson here is clearly that I have a tendency to over invest in relationships with other people, and under invest in my relationship with God. The fact is, I have been surrounded by wonderful people my ENTIRE life, in my family, friends, and even teachers, and yet I oftentimes feel like something is missing. The truth is, even the people you love the most, and who love you the most, will at some point, let you down, hurt you, or leave you. It's not always the most pleasant thought, but it's true. There is ultimately only One person who you can count on that will never leave you. . . not even on a Saturday morning in the Yellow House :)


  1. Hey Julie! I just wanted to let you know that I always look forward to reading your new posts and I can totally identify with you on this post particularly. I have been praying for you and I will continue to think of you as you count down the weeks until you return to PA. miss you lots!
    love, jen

  2. Great insights!

    Every single event in life, EVERY SINGLE ONE, brings with it good and bad. Our creative minds, usually under the influence of the "fake" culture we live in, draw up these fantasies that reality can never touch. Not that we shouldn't hope for the best, but rather, check our definition of "the best."

    The best thing I know is God's perfect love. A love that is willing to teach, embrace, discipline, give, withhold, let go, serve, care for, etc.

  3. Wow, how true this is! There's a saying somewhere "The only constant in life is change." Of course our Savior's love for us is even MORE constant and never-changing. Isn't it great how much God teaches us when we take that leap into something crazy, unknown, unexpected? He knows exactly how to reach us and pull us closer to Him, even in these uncertain circumstances. I love these lessons you've shared--I can certainly relate to them. Especially the part about desiring to crave time w/God as much as we do people. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Hi Julie

    Yes, I understand it's hard to see people come and go, especially after bonds have been formed.

    I constantly find myself thinking of you - I don't think I could find courage to leave behind my life to invest in a cause, like you have done. Respect.

    Thanks again for blessing us with your talents and your tender personality.


  5. You are an amzing young woman and it is so powerful to hear about your insights into your experiences and God. Although it shouldn't, it always amazes me how God places before us such unique opportunities for growth and ways to get closer to HIM. We can never see the full picture that GOD sees but simply learning to trust in HIM is the most valable lesson we may ever learn.May your journey bring you closer to the marvelous woman GOD has created you to be!

  6. Hopefully you got the messages last night and were able to hear Mac's beautiful voice!! :) I LOVE this post. I feel (with our split brain and all) the message here keenly, as I am sure I would be in a very similar position in terms of relationships built, saying goodbye, etc. I also cannot believe how time is flying.

    All that being said, I pray that our great God continues to uphold and sustain you through your journey at the Yellow House. He is doing a mighty work in and through you, Julie!