I am standing in a new place. And, with this new place comes fresh inspiration to write again. To reflect, to ponder, to capture moments, to challenge, to invent, to improvise, and to record.
In the past three months, I have undergone much personal and professional transition. Moving to D.C., first in July to the NW and then again in October to the NE; finding a new church; planting seeds of new friendships; adjusting to a different commute, budget, and local community; new responsibilities and opportunities at work; a new roommate; finding a new gym; switching my car tags and insurance; and, even simple things like hunting down the best produce and prices at local grocery stores.
My new local neighborhood is wonderful. I hear the trains blowing their horns as they steam into Union Station, a one mile walk from my apartment. I smell coffee brewing at the local Barista up the street. I can walk to the new H Street area, to Eastern Market, and yes, even to my brother’s house. I step outside and can run down to the National Mall within 15 minutes. And, trees’ glorious leaves are like picture frames – colorfully lining the streets – with its branches dancing on the sides of buildings and row-homes everywhere you look.
All this transition has come pregnant with questions. Questions related to my routines, habits, relationships, priorities, commitments, time, calling, ambitions, and so much more. And, at times, all this change can be overwhelming, especially when old things can be so comforting and familiar.
But, the opportunity to freshly assess each of these things has been wonderful. At church, our congregation is going through a study on the book of Ecclesiastes. Last Sunday, we studied the famous “A Time for Everything” passage, in which Solomon (the author) assesses the cycle of various seasons of life, and the reality that God sees, controls and lovingly guides all of it from beginning to end. And, out of all of the lines in this poetic stanza, none rings truer than, “A Time to Plant, and a time to Pluck Up what is Planted.”
There is a time to break down boxes, and a time to cast things away, to lose old things and stuff. That has been done, and with it has come a new room of simplicity, order and peace.
The decorating is still in process, but I’ve gone with a blue-gray and red theme. The thing I love most in my new room is the Red Iron Bed. This bed belonged to what I believe was my great-great Grandfather, who lay in this bed sick in a hospital ward in North Carolina after World War I, having contracted TB. It was originally white (following the common practice of hospital beds to all be white-washed), but when passed down to my Grandma, was painted bright Cherry red. In her words, “Because it needed some pep.”
Now that the boxes are unpacked and the trash tossed and the old shoes donated, it’s time to plant: fresh seeds of grace, love, truth, friendship, discipline, prayer, service, outreach, mercy, holiness, and wisdom. Of course it will take time to grow. It always does. Often years! And, in a city known for being fluid and transitional, there is an even greater body of time for true community to be established. But, as the phrase I cherish says, “He makes everything beautiful in its time.”
Speaking of things being made beautiful in its time…it was THIS exact time last year that I was first introduced to Meridian International Center, and have now been working at Meridian for nearly nine months. Here I am pictured with guests at our recent 44th Annual Ball on October 12. It was an incredible evening, both to attend and in proudly representing this organization. Other photos are here and here.
And now, the calm before the storm. That is, Hurricane Sandy. Good thing I’ve been reading Unbroken this past week — talk about the ultimate story of survival. If you haven’t read it, you MUST – you will not be able to put it down. Just don’t read it late at night – you might have dreams of sharks 🙂