Sunday, June 26, 2016

History Has Its Eyes On *Us*

If you have looked at the news or been on any form of social media recently, you will have seen something about "Brexit." Now before you think to yourself ugh, another opinion post about Brexit and scroll past this, bare with me for a second. I promise this isn't an opinion post about Brexit. Well, not really.

For those of you who are interested and don't know what I'm talking about, please click here.

So if I'm not really talking about Brexit then why am I bringing it up? Well I want to talk about my current favorite musical Hamilton... and a thought that struck me today while I was listening to the song "History Has Its Eyes On You." In this song General Washington is looking back on a mistake he made, using himself as a cautionary tale, telling those listening to be mindful because their choices will affect the people that come after. He warns them, particularly Alexander Hamilton, that "history has its eyes on you."

Back to Brexit for a quick sec. This decision, if the UK does indeed break away from the EU, will affect people in generations to come. And, it's important to note, the vast majority (approximately 75%) of people under the age of 25 voted to stay in the EU. Meaning most of the people who will be living with this decision the longest, voted against it.

Not seeing the connection between Hamilton and Brexit yet? One of the founders of the US sings this short but powerful song about thinking through your decisions and learning from your mistakes. A message that we all need to hear constantly. But this year in particular, on a macro-level. The world is changing. The UK just voted on this referendum that will change economics and the EU and immigration and many other things. The US has a major election this year that will decide its fate for years to come (think: Supreme Court justices). We need to realize that history has its eyes on us. Future history books will talk about these decisions. We need to make sure we are making the best choice not only for us but for the people who are coming after us. For the people who will have to live with these decisions.

I also want us all to listen to the voices of people that we might normally ignore. The "young people," the "poor people," the "uneducated people." But, from my context especially, I want you to think about the young people. The under 25ers who mostly voted to stay in the EU. The people in the US that "feel the Bern." The people who are told that they are the future but who's current opinions are usually ignored. These people are not the only the future. We are the NOW. We have a voice that matters at this very moment. Please, don't dismiss us.

History has its eyes on us. All of us.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Tu me manques.

This has been a difficult post for me to write because it’s about loneliness and I don't always feel lonely, which is a wonderful thing. But today the waves that are a balance between loneliness and whatever it's opposite is reached high tide again. So here I am, months after I started this, writing. 

A pen appeared and the god said:
"Write what it is to be
man." And my hand hovered
long over the bare page,

until there, like footprints
of the lost traveller, letters
took shape on the page's
blankness, and I spelled out

the word "lonely." And my hand moved
to erase it; but the voices
of all those waiting at life's 
window cried out loud: "it is true."
                                   The Word by RS Thomas

Loneliness is something that I think everyone experiences differently. For me, loneliness is usually me missing someone. The French expression for “I miss you” is “tu me manques” (maybe you’ve seen this before) which translates to something like “you are missing from me.” And I think that’s what loneliness is. My mom was here for Christmas and it was wonderful! I loved showing her around and spending time, just me and her. But when she left, I experienced stronger loneliness than before she came, even though I had just spent a fabulous week with her. She was (and is) missing from me. Now this week one of my sisters is playing an important character in her high school's musical and I'm missing it.

Like I wrote above, loneliness comes in waves. Some days I see a picture of something or, like in today's case, I watch a show and somehow something reminds me of what is missing from me. I thank God that this isn't a perpetual state or I would have gone home months ago. But I think it's important to speak to our loneliness because like the poem states, loneliness is part of what it is to be human. We all experience it. And I'm not going to write about how to get over said loneliness because I don't think that's what is important here. I think naming and acknowledging my feeling is important. And knowing that, in time, this will pass. Because the ocean doesn't permanently stay at high tide and neither will loneliness. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

We Will Be the Hopeful

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the attack on Paris last night (if not, please read here: So what now? What do we do after a terrible tragedy like this occurs?

Some have taken to scapegoating. And, to be honest with you, I kinda get it. After an event like this, we are shocked to the core. Our humanity forces us to search for answers. What is our answer? How do we respond? As Americans (French, Canadians, etc.)? As Christians (Muslims, atheists, …)? As people bound together by the fact that we’re all human beings experiencing tragedy?

We will be the hopeful. We will BE the hopeful.

1 Corinthians 13:13 reads, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love….” I’m sure you can complete the verse. But I believe these three are the opposite of fear. The fear that tragedies like this create and intend to create. Faith, hope, and love is how we’re called to respond. I believe we are called to be faith. To be hope. And to be love. This can bring us together. This, in time, can heal us.

We will be the hopeful.*


*I am, again, borrowing this saying from my favorite organization To Write Love On Her Arms ( While processing these events last night, this saying was all I could think of. God’s calling me to be the hopeful.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Frequently Asked Question

And now for part one of Frequently Asked Questions (more to come at an undecided later date): what do you do here? I meet quite a few people here at the cathedral and this is one question that I am always asked – usually as a follow up question to “are you a student?” I always respond, no I am not a student. I actually work here at the cathedral. And then come FAQ number one.

So what DO I so here at the cathedral? Well I predominately work with the youth but I truly do a little bit of everything. What does a typical day look like? Well there is no such thing as a typical day for me! There are certain things I do on a weekly basis: youth group, staff meeting, work the welcome desk, fold bulletins, and go to different worship services. But everything else changes depending on what is going on in the cathedral and what events are taking place in Paris.

Here are a few things that I’m currently working on, to give you an idea of what I actually do:
  • Youth group: Every Sunday after church I meet with one of three youth groups. My group consists of students in their last and second to last year in high school. My co-leader, Mary, is currently taking the youth through Sundays’ services to teach them what we do in a service and why we do it.
  • Organize youth activities: The other youth leaders and I have talked about different things the youth can do outside of Sunday’s youth group. I am currently looking into things like camping, paintball, etc. More to come on this.
  • Attend different cathedral events and meetings: Even though I’ve been here for two months, I’m still just beginning to figure out the wonderful things the cathedral is doing. I’ve been to choir concerts, book studies, a Mission and Outreach meeting, a strategic planning workshop, and a few other things that I am currently forgetting.
  • Help plan Thanksgiving dinner: This community includes many Americans and Canadians, so the cathedral hosts a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. I am helping organize this and I may even attempt to cook! (Don’t worry mom and dad, I will have supervision!)
  • Take part in the COP21 march: In December, Paris is hosting the UN’s conference on climate change. The event begins with a march through the streets of Paris. I’m not sure yet what my involvement will look like, but I’ll let you know when I know!
Honestly, the number one thing that I do here is build relationships. That’s what everything boils down to. I’m still finding my place here and ironing out exactly what I do. But for now, this is where I’m at. And I love it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wild Geese

Every Sunday evening, the cathedral holds an Eventide service. It is a more contemplative service and it has become a time for me to center myself. A time to reflect on the past week and look forward to the week to come. But more so, it is a time to be with God and think about things a little differently.

That being said, this service is a little different. More interactive with less ‘bells and whistles.’ Perhaps my favorite part is the first reading. And no, it is not from the common lectionary. It is usually a poem that Canon Mary pointed out could have been a part of the Bible, maybe, if we continued to add to it. The three times that I have been to Eventide, these poems have spoken to me and so, I would like to share this one with you.

Wild Geese – Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in clean blue air, are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

The world offers itself to your imagination. What is your place in the family of things?