As I’m apt to do on my days off from Russ Reid, I went on a hike last weekend. It was a spectacular winter morning; the enduring cool of the waning morning met the enduring rays of California sun, presenting me with the most ideal hiking weather. Sorry to make everyone in my life jealous.
While I knew I had to turn around at some point, I was constantly justifying just a few more minutes so I could hike to the next bend and discover the landscape around the corner. This hardly satisfied my curiosity. It simply prolonged my solitary adventure.
Unlike my enjoyment of the unknown on a hike, my natural instinct to life’s unknowns can feel paralyzing. Why is it so difficult to meet what’s around the corner–those times of uncertainty and risk–with excitement?
After all, my experience and my God tell me that around each corner unfolds more beauty, more adventure, and more fresh encounters with the world in which I am but a traveler.
Kyle and I are “turning the corner” on a few things these days. We’re revisiting choices we knew were approaching. We’re contemplating others forced upon us a bit quicker than expected. It feels a bit overwhelming, especially because these decisions all came at us at once. And we’re trying to consider the bend in the road ahead with excitement.
As you might guess, a choice we’ve started to revisit is what kind of future we are being led to geographically and vocationally. Southern California has been home for a year and a half and most days we’ve been content to live in the moment, focused on the present quarter or work season. Kyle must now decide where he’ll pursue the internship that is required for graduation. He could intern with a church for a minimum of nine months or pursue a hospital chaplaincy, among other ideas. It’s a big commitment and we know it’s an important experience.
And speaking of graduation—it feels more around the corner than ever. Assuming all things go according to plan, he graduates June 11, 2016 (not that I’m excited or anything…). What happens after? It’s certainly something we’re thinking about more seriously, which puts us in a different frame of mind than when we first began this seminary journey.
Lest you think my life is the stable one of the two, it’s kinda not. I recently accepted a change of position at Russ Reid and became an Account Executive during the first weeks of 2015, an opportunity that will expand my experience and hopefully capitalize on new strengths. I am now a liaison between the agency and a half-dozen Rescue Missions throughout the U.S., serving them as they partner with Russ Reid to engage their donors and raise more funds. While I’m excited about what lies ahead and feel “the best is yet to come” at work, the interim time of learning a new set of tasks quickly, adapting–both to new coworkers and new clients–can feel daunting and exhausting.
Our sense of calling to a church body has also been in flux this year. Kyle is taking two very insightful courses this quarter–one on the book of Acts, exploring the foundational beginnings of the Christian church, and the other on the practices of worship and prayer. Conversation on walks or at dinner gravitates toward corporate worship and our identity in a church community. It’s crucial to reflect upon as we prepare for a potential lifetime of ministry. It’s also proven difficult to discern how deeply to connect with a church here in Los Angeles at this stage in our lives.
Our apartment situation in Pasadena will inevitably change as soon as the next few weeks and certainly in the next months. We were notified in early February that our apartment complex will be torn down sometime after July 1. We’re bummed that we have to move so close to graduation, only to know we will have to move again. Amidst trying to arrange an internship, start a new job, and continue in the demanding pace of seminary, we’ll be pulling out the packing boxes!
Even though there is a lot around the corner, we see something every day for which we’re grateful. Not to mention, we’ve been blessed by the support of our families. Kyle’s parents and grandparents visited Pasadena over New Years; we spent one wonderful week reconnecting with each other and showing them our life here in California. Almost every day we explored a new corner of Los Angeles and almost every evening you could find us around the table playing a game. Kyle’s grandma checked off a bucket list item and got to see the Rose Parade, and I think everyone enjoyed the beach tour. The Santa Monica seagull that swooped in and plucked a hamburger straight from Grandpa Pete’s hands during a picnic lunch on the seashore will go down in infamy.
We’ll have another visitor in March, when my mom comes for a girls’ (her + me) weekend in Santa Barbara.
We’re both craving some time away to regroup, reconnect face to face, and enjoy the slower pace of a coastal town! And in June, we’re Chicago-bound to spend some time leading up to my brother Austin’s wedding.
One other saving grace for this season is that it’s winter. In Southern California. We’re loving (LOVING) it, as many of you said we would. We don’t take for granted this very unique and precious time in our lives, each day filled with sunshine. Again, not to make you jealous or anything.
We’ll keep you posted on what we find around the corner in the coming months!
Natalie and Kyle