“This has been a year of peaceful transition.” – Preston Yancey, Tables in the Wilderness
In August, I’m moving from Dallas to Vancouver to pursue a Master’s in Theology at Regent College. There, I said it. (Wrote it, anyways. For a writer, this is a crucial step in coming to terms with life’s ebbs and flows.)
This is a moving experience in more ways than one (pun very intended). It comes with such a variety of feelings.
I’m sad to leave Dallas, which I’ve come to call home especially in the last year. Sad to leave family and familiarity; rhythms and routines; a dear, loving church home and deep, loving chats in homes; and Mexican food maybe most of all. Exaggerating there. Kind of.
“How lucky I am,” said A.A. Milne, “to have something that makes it so hard to say good-bye.” How lucky I am, I have to remind myself, to have had family and familiarity, guacamole and good friends. Truly, I’m holding onto this Winnie-the-Pooh wisdom as tightly as a kid clinging to a stuffed Pooh bear.
I hold onto memories, which I fully believe are not just moments in time — here today and gone tomorrow — but mementos in the mind. These are moments that matter; they’re “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).
They’re moments like leading a Bible study for 6th grade girls, all piled on a queen-sized bed and feeling like little queens themselves as you talk about love and truth. Preparing and giving a talk on Theology and the Arts, on God and beauty, on our Creator who calls us to create. Praying with friends about their jobs or families or mental illness. Receiving and serving Communion, “the gifts of God for the people of God.” What a gift.
They’re moments of answering clarifying questions, observing models, and receiving affirmations — 3 goals I laid out in my beginning-of-the-year post on “The Beecherl-Corrigan Fellows Program: A Year of Community and Calling.”
No. And yes. (See my October blog “Ready Or Not, Here We Go” for a little on this dynamic.) I don’t have a student visa or Canadian phone number or even housing in Vancouver yet; these things will come. I don’t know half the words on the “Theological Vocabulary 101” list. I don’t know exactly, specifically what I plan to do with a Master’s in Theology. “I may not know the way I go, but oh I know my guide.” Oh I know my guide. I know He was and is and is to come — was in my time in Dallas and is abiding with me and is to come in Vancouver too. Oh I know my guide.
Because I know my guide, I can more readily “go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”
How many times have I heard those words in the last year?
Those words that have come to mean so much to me — so much that I’ve considered getting them tattooed on my feet. (Exaggerating there again. Kind of.)
Those words that often make up the benediction to a Mass, which is a word coming from the Latin “ite, missa est” or “go, this is the dismissal.” Go, this is the mission. Go, this is the point.
Those words that mean the whole point of the Christian life is not that we camp out in peaceful places but that we go out in peace to all places.
For me, this is looking like I’ll go in peace to Canada to love and serve the Lord.