Home is- Faith Bessette

Home is a funny word.

By definition, it simply means a permanent residence.
The structure where you most often lay your head.
The address you have your Amazon orders shipped to.

It’s a basic concept really, but often it’s much more complex than any of these defining characteristics.

Home is Lincoln, Rhode Island.

A small town,
in a small (smallest) state,
occupied by some of the biggest influences in my life.

Friends, that I’ve been lucky enough to keep since the 3rd grade,
and more who have stuck with me along the way.

Family, that provides me with a constant and unwavering support through all of my choices, good and bad.

Mom, who has shown me what being truly good looks like,
just by being herself.

Home is Pascoag, Rhode Island.

A (smaller) town, that houses a beautiful little summer camp,
(formally known as the Episcopal Conference Center)
I may not live there permanently, but my heart sure does.

Friends, travel from far and wide to experience a tangible presence of God together,
to learn what it means to love fully and radically.

Family, sticks around,
sending generation after generation each summer,
creating a passionate connection that runs deep and wide throughout the community.

Mom, with me in tow, turned into the parking lot for the first time 7 years ago.
We read the words painted on the rock out front,
“He who enters here, is a stranger but once”,
and we never looked back.

Home is where you feel supported.
Home is where you feel heard.
Home is where you can laugh without any inhibitions.

Home is connection.
Home is vulnerability.
Home is acceptance.

Home is the people you choose to surround yourself with.
People who don’t dim your light,
but rather,
turn it all the way up.

Home is (most recently) Denver, Colorado.

A (BIG) city that I’ve lived in now for almost a month,
where the air is dry (thank god),
and alive with new beginnings.
There’s a pulsing heartbeat here,
that calls people from all walks of life.

Friends, who are bright, shiny, and new,
who make me feel supported,
who make me feel heard,
who can make me laugh without any inhibitions
(and usually till I snort).

Family, who I am newly re-acquainted with,
who make it easy for connection,
who encourage vulnerability,
and who accept me for all that I am, and all that I’m not.

Mom, who calls to make sure I don’t forget how important it is,
to keep my light steady and sure,
because she believes it can reach farther and wider than I could ever imagine for myself.

Home is more than the address the UPS guy reads,
it’s the excitement my roommates and I share, as I get my first pair of Chacos in the mail.

Home is more than the place I lay my head,
it’s where we make dinner every weeknight while singing just a little too loudly.

Home is more than a permanent residence,
it’s where you find your heart being filled all the way up,
where you can exist honestly and without shame.

Home is a someone who makes you feel all these things. 

(Even if they’re not made up of roofs, doors, and windows)

 

Home can be more.

Home can be less.

 

Home is a funny word.

 

-Faith

 

 

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He Goes With Us

Greetings readers! This is my first blog post for ESC, so I’m going to give a brief introduction of myself:

My name is Rachel, and I’m serving at the Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs.  I LOVE history and am kind of a nerd.  I convinced my roommates to let me put up a picture of Abraham Lincoln in our living room.  They’re pretty cool.  Anyway, I’ve been out of college for a little more than a year and a half, and prior to ESC, had kind of just been floating from job to job, not really finding anything to stick with.  I got a BS in history, which was fun, but my studies really only prepared me for graduate school.  I was really struggling, but I am so excited to be here! Enough about me, let’s move on to…oh…a bit more about me.

When I found this opportunity, it seemed too perfect.  I’d been seeking a museum job and wanting to move to the Rockies, and these things plus the added bonus of intentional Christian community sounded too good to be true.  When I interviewed and was offered a place in ESC at the museum, I was elated,  but I was also worried.  I was worried that this was a selfish pursuit of career and location, and not what God wanted for me.  Our relationship is not one where I often hear the Lord clearly and distinctly.  It’s more of an “I’m going to try this thing, if it’s within your will, bless it, and of not, close the door.”  And it seemed that He had been closing a lot of doors.  Anyway, I didn’t feel strongly led by God to the program.  It was everything I had wanted so I decided that since I got in, it was an ok path to take.  I knew God wouldn’t let me stray from His side as long as I was pursuing Him.  Still, I was nervous even up to the day I that I left that this was the “wrong” choice.  I tend to think often of following God as doing what I don’t want to do.  Now, sometimes this is the case, but not always.  Just because something aligns with our desires, does not mean it is selfish or opposed to God’s plan.

The first few weeks here have been busy, draining, fun, and just plain overwhelming.  I’ve seen God throughout these past couple weeks, but still had my doubts.  Despite this, as I sat at the museum desk training this week, a feeling of rightness came over me.  A feeling that I was in the right place.  The Lord opened this door, and I walked through.  Of course, He came with me! I feel already that what I have been searching for has been answered in this next stage of life.  I don’t know what that means, but I am excited for the year to come.  It is doubtless going to be one of challenges, growth, and love.  I’m thankful for the Lord’s assurance and ever-present love and guidance.  I get caught up too often in trying to ferret out “God’s plan” and “what He is calling me to.”  It can be paralyzing for many of us, and I don’t think He wants it this way.  Sometimes His will for people is very clear and distinct, but I don’t think this is always the case.  To paraphrase one of my ministers from college: God isn’t always worried about where you go, as long as you take Him with you.  I’m convinced that as long as my heart stays set on God, I will be serving Him, and He will be guiding me regardless of career choice, location, etc.  I thank the Lord that He chooses to look at us and see sons and daughters, and though

“In their hearts humans plan their course…
the Lord establishes their steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

All praise, power, and glory be to the Lord God!

Faces, names, plants, and stars – Weston Morris

Holiness is in the new faces, names, plants, and stars.

The faces of all of the cows that we pass on the roads between Steamboat Springs and Hayden, Oak Creek or Yampa. Cows I no longer eat.

Jason, the manager of a local restaurant, who spent significant energy rescuing my phone from underneath the wooden floorboards of a sidewalk trying to hard to be quaint. He took his power drill back to Dude and Dan’s saying something about the might of karma.

The aspens, which I learned are capable of using their bleached white bark to perform photosynthesis during the winter time when the leaves have fallen.

The stars, which I think are technically the same, but look different because I’m thousands of miles from the North Carolina sky where the stars spent many, many of the last 365 nights winking at me. Whether or not they’re the same, I certainly can see more stars winking at me here.

I moved to Colorado looking for holiness. Faces, names, plants, and stars — I’ve found holiness in all the new.

 

IMG_6212When holy water was rare at best

It barely wet my fingertips

But now I have to hold my breath

Like I’m swimming in a sea of it

It used to be a world half there

Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down

But I walk it with a reverent air

Cause everything is holy now

Everything, everything

Everything is holy now

— Peter Mayer, “Holy Now”

Decision Points in the Wilderness – Erin Lammott

I went out hiking by myself yesterday. You know what that means… yup, metaphors and a blog post. Green Mountain hosted me for about six hours yesterday and shared her views on life. Not going to lie, I was nervous to do a new and longer hike by myself than I’ve ever done alone. So nervous, in fact, that I made a last minute trip to REI to give them more of my money and complete my list of The 10 Essentials. I sent a five page text to my roommates with a description of my route and detailed description of my clothes. That’s all smart. I’ll keep doing it. Just saying… I was anxious. Anyway, I survived! The hike was about 7 miles, pretty vertical, and had about 20 decision points. While I was super thankful for all the trail markings, there were many times I wanted a more detailed confirmation that I was choosing the right path. “Here’s your sign” wasn’t enough. That’s how I’m feeling in life right now. My family, friends, and ESC community have talked through life decisions with me- specifically about choosing a job and location. At the end of the day, I’m making the decisions alone & a bit fearful of choosing the wrong path. I noticed yesterday, I would be pretty sure of my direction, but hesitant. Then trail runners would pass me & I repeatedly would think “Oh good, I’m going the right way.” Granted, I don’t know where they were going, but the company meant I at least I wasn’t all alone & would end up SOMEWHERE. Or the mountain lion would eat them first… either way hahah… *nervous laughter fades*.

In all seriousness, the trail was supposed to be a loop and I almost turned back three times due to fear of predatory animals, light rain, and lack of confidence in my ability to follow the map. After all, known risk is better than unknown risk, right? The first time I almost turned back, was I legitimately spooked that a mountain lion might be hunting me. Two trail runners passed me. I got the confidence to keep trekking. Then, not even .1 miles later, there was the first peak! I should mention that a great motivator for this hiking day, was needing to get away from people for a while. On that summit though, there were tons of people. I honestly don’t know where they came from or how they got there, but wow were they a beautiful sight. Normally, I’m like “Y’all be quiet and go home.” But today, when I was actually scared of being alone in the wilderness, I was so glad to find there were actually herds of people here. It felt nice to be happy to have people sharing the experience. That’s how I’ve been feeling about this service year. It felt pretty wild to leave my corporate job and come out here for this year of “intentional community and service.” What does that even mean?? UNKNOWN RISK. Now that I’m here though, it feels like belonging. I’ve met people who share my interest in spirituality, appreciation for the environment, emotion, and belief in people. I don’t need everyone to have all that, but being in community where it’s respected and understood, is a breath of fresh air. And, like the strangers on the summit, they give me enough confidence to keep going.

Then it was time to move on. Back in the wilderness alone. The most significant decision point was about two miles later. I could either go back the way I came or take a detour through the canyon to cut the actual 12 mile hike short. I had been reassuring myself with a more detailed account of the hike from James Dziezynski’s book. His book covered the 12 mile hike though so the shortcut canyon trail didn’t have much information. If I made the decision to continue through the canyon, then that would take me to the next decision point – Mesa Trail split – which meant my ability to read directions would either lead me home or so far into the wilderness that I would be out there at least deep into the night. For someone with limited food and water and scared of the dark, THAT IS THE WRONG OPTION. I decided to turn back and go the way I came. Before returning, I rested. As I stood up to return, the sun came out, a trail runner went onto the Canyon path, and I lightly thought “you can do this.” So even though I thought I would go back the way I came, a couple small indicators and confidence led me to the canyon detour. UNKNOWN RISK. I started to regret it when I felt exposed and vulnerable to danger in the low lands. (I see why the high ground is coveted in battle now.) I had committed though, so I continued down the path. And, lo and behold, the most beautiful part of the hike! Honestly, it was probably the prettiest scenery I’ve seen so far in Colorado – and that’s saying something. If I had retuned the way I came, I would have missed the most beautiful and rewarding part. Great risk, great reward I guess.

I wish I could say the hike gave me clarity about my upcoming life decisions. It didn’t give me more than a lot of signs. A few reminders to self though. 1) As much as I want to be independent and fine, it’s nice to have company and not always be alone in the wilderness. 2) Unknown risk is scary and can yield great returns. 3) Pay attention to the details because the devil (or angel) is in the details. 4) You are responsible and cover your bases, so have confidence dude. You got it. (Idk, nature just whispered that to me). 5) Yo, nature is pretty rad.

CO Trail

Wait, I’ve Been Here Before – Erin Lammott

Today I set out to conquer a new hike that I had never before attempted. When I got to the trail head, I recognized it instantly. I was on this trail three years ago. Previously, I only ran up the base. I turned back and didn’t do the full trail because I feared hiking it alone, I didn’t have the equipment, and mostly because I was anxious about starting a new job in a couple months so I decided to use the time to prepare for the job instead of being outside. Today was very ironic. I’m actually in the same position again. I almost decided to forego hiking today so that I could prepare for my next job. Instead I did, I guess what they call it, Carpe Diem / C’est la vie? Lived in the day. I was very struck by being on this same trail three years later. Sometimes I think nature/ God / the universe leads us back in a loop to somewhere we’ve been before to reveal more and to offer a lesson that we may have missed the last time. Today I’m back here, further down the trail. Still by myself. Learning what’s relevant for me. Receiving the healing powers that nature and the body will restore. Being reminded the end isn’t as treacherous as it may seem.

Three years ago I was sitting in this same place, but it looked so different. I was very focused in on my relationship and my upcoming job. I wouldn’t have used these words before, but I was anxious and fearful of changes I felt coming. And change sure did happen. Much has happened in the past three years. A fear then is still a fear of mine now – being lonely. And there has been loneliness. AND the past three years though have introduced me to so many new friends and also proved some relationships can last through time and distance. There’s been so much unpredicted love and many unforeseen lessons.

Today was a God moment. It was healing and restorative. I really needed that reminder to remember that one day I will be looking back at this point in my life thinking “Wow, it seemed so hard, stressful, and scary back then. And look how things have changed and where I am now.” Sometimes I wish my path was straighter, more direct, point A to point B. I guess it’s worth it though. To be led down this more winding path – maybe even back to the same trail – if it means going further down said trail and ending in way that feels how I feel today. More like myself. More confident. More assured that things will work out.  Keep trekking, E. Keep trekking, friends. It be good.

Flat Irons Trail base - 03.2018
Thanks God. Thanks nature. Thanks body. Thanks loved ones. Thanks timing.  

Taking My Time – Anthony Suggs

Time is a funny thing. Like many things we put lots of weight into as human beings, it is a construct. It can be experienced differently depending on what is going on in your life, who you are with, what you are doing, what is in your control, and what is out of it. Time means many things to many people and, despite the exact measurements of your clock, it is relative.

January felt very fresh and exciting. The legislative session of the Colorado General Assembly convened for its 120 day period which made my job as an advocacy and social justice coordinator a little more exciting! Life was very very busy, but I felt as though I had a grasp on my time and was able to take everything in as it came and keep in the context of the bigger picture. And then February happened.

As the already hectic schedule of January continued on into February, time began to be less distinct. It began to flow together in one continuous stream; the days and weeks sort of blending together. The shortest month of the year somehow felt like it was the longest, yet I felt as though much of it was passing me by.

I don’t think I’m alone in this experience of exceptionally busy or challenging parts of life. It can be so easy to get stuck in a cycle with our lives to the point that we stop paying attention. We stop looking for the Divine in the midst of us and even within our own lives. The Holy is everywhere and when we don’t stop to check in with it, we run the risk of missing out on the bigger picture. The bigger picture that is, at the same time, beyond our individual lives and deeply rooted in the everyday of our individual lives.

So, I’ve been making a strong effort to check in with myself in March to make sure that I’m not just coasting along. I want to seek. I want to notice. I want to be present.

There’s no better time than now.

A Little Bit of Bragging – Emily Eldridge

I tend not to talk about my accomplishments very much, even when I’m proud of myself. Other people usually brag for me, to my total embarrassment. But I feel I’ve done some pretty cool things at the museum this month so I want to share.

On Thursday I posted the link to an article I wrote for the local paper on the ESC Facebook page. I wrote about the 1918 flu epidemic and its impact on Colorado, particularly on Steamboat Springs and other nearby towns. This is my first public piece of writing.

The big one: in case you missed it, the Olympics took place this month. I’ve never really paid attention to them, but I have the privilege of living and working in Ski Town U.S.A. Steamboat Springs has ties to more Olympic athletes than anywhere else in the country. 15 2018 Winter Olympians lived or trained here, and that meant I couldn’t ignore the Olympics this year. Quite the opposite – I created my very first solo museum exhibit about Steamboat’s 2018 athletes! I researched the games and athletes, designed and mounted (with help!) the information panels and a couple of artifacts belonging to previous Olympians.

Meanwhile, this past week my boss arranged an amazing loan for the museum – a 2010 Olympic silver medal won by Steamboat Springs native Johnny Spillane. And the coolest part: in the absence of the museum curator, she turned the medal over to me to create a display! It was small and simple, but I don’t think I’ve ever handled something as cool (or as valuable!) before. I got started on the display before the medal arrived so it could go up quickly, so I was relieved when it turned out looking great with no adjustments needed.

These are things I worked hard on this month and am proud to have done. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have done these things and for the support and help I had in doing them.

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