Monday, August 31, 2009

First Week

Week one. Done.

On Monday, a mere seven days ago, we burst through the last bunch of evergreen mountains and came down – literally, came down – to the waterfront city of Seattle. The days that followed were a blur of new things: new (and friendly!) people, new (and confusing!) streets, new (and oddly located but somehow very likable!) apartment home, new (and awesome!) central tourist sites like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, new (and even more awesome!) walkable urban neighborhood, and – of course – new job.

I really love my new job. There are a million little reasons for this that are adding up to a situation I couldn’t have dreamed up for myself, but maybe the best example is in my experience on Thursday morning at my first Lutheran Public Policy Office (LPPO) event.

It was a Faith-Labor Breakfast, a meet-and-eat where religious leaders and labor leaders gathered together to organize. We prayed. We ate and drank (coffee, of course – this is Seattle, after all). We listened to a variety of speakers discuss everything from the plight of local hotel workers to the current status of the federal health care bill. We committed to several specific actions. And we planned the next meeting.

Those of you on Facebook might have some idea of why this kind of a meeting would get me so excited. For weeks now I’ve been posting – often way too much, I know – about the health care bill and how important it is. And now I suddenly find myself in a job where I go to work in the morning and I get to work on connecting others with ways they can get involved with the health care bill. That’s right, folks: I don’t have to wait until I get home to work on the things I really care about; I get to do it at work. For someone who used to work at a Subway, this is a big deal.

At this point I imagine some of you may also be asking whether the health care bill is really what a seminary intern ought to be working on. It’s a good question, and one I hope to address better in the coming weeks and months on this blog. But for now I’m just content to sit back stupefied, full of exuberant gratitude that, wonder of wonders, I get to work on what I care about.

Besides the stupefied wonder, there’ve been other notables this week. Most notable of them all was a visit by Chris’ mom and sister, Erica, to help us move in. Actually, they took the train and passed us along the route West while we were sleeping in Spokane and ended up welcoming us to Seattle. Their early arrival allowed them to show us around a bit on our first full day in our new city, giving us the 411 on the public transit system and giving us a tour of the Pike Place Market. It was a short trip, with only a few days here, but just long enough for us to share some of our first experiences of Seattle with them.

Which is to say that, thankfully, amid all this newness we weren’t really alone. In a new apartment, we unpacked familiar things. At a new job, I remembered old training and dug up old passions. In a new place, we explored unfamiliar territory with familiar people. And on Sunday morning, in a new church, we worshipped the same God who’d walked with us all the way here.

Thank heavens. New growth, after all, is always supported by its roots.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Moving Eve

It’s raining again.

Tomorrow we leave for Seattle and, it seems, another new life. It will be our third new life in four years. Our life, lately, has been a nomadic life, one that leaves us excited and exhausted at the same time, nearly all the time.

We are, of course, thrilled at the prospect of new things, even as we carry the past with us.

We can see that past with our own eyes as we pack it into the backseat of the car, and we think: if only we could leave more behind.

And we feel that past in our hearts as we remember the whirlwind month we’ve spent with our family and our friends, and we think: if only we could take more of it with us.

And this rain that is coming down again, this rain: it feels so ominous. Or maybe it’s just a harbinger of rainy Seattle, some God-sent sign that our future is already here, right outside our windows, at our doorstep.

Now the sky clears up again, just as suddenly as it arrived. The future is here and it is not, back and forth, sometimes both at the same time. Maybe this is how new life starts.

So start.