Perfect Freedom of Single Necessity–Megan Helbling

Our group therapist tells us that there’s really no such thing as a plethora of emotions; only four base emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, and anger. I think that my story of moving to Colorado might be summed up by how I experience all four of those emotions in regards to this crazy thing called Christianity. I used to feel great joy, and excitement, and hope at the promises of the epiphany and the reality of the resurrection. But that happiness is often dwarfed by fear: fear that none of it is real, after all, and fear that I’m wasting my Sunday mornings on church instead of bottomless mimosas or a later alarm, or fear that maybe I wasted a fancy liberal arts education on an ancient thing that is silly and unhelpful. These doubts then evoke a great sadness, because I want to rejoice in the richness of the Christian tradition and belief: I just fear I might not be able to. Coupled with that sadness is a deep anger, at the exclusion and oppression and evil that the Church has created, perpetuated, and remained complicit in since its conception.

 

My faith hasn’t always been so conflicted. An evolution occured since my whole journey with Christianity began sweetly and joyfully, full of healing and hope, at a summer camp in high school. Since then, and especially during my senior year of college, I realized how much each emotion had grown in conflict with another, and felt myself becoming someone who was curious about Christianity intellectually, but too bitter and antagonizing to embrace ideals like grace and forgiveness and compassion towards my enemies or the oppressive structures of this world. I chose the Episcopal Service Corps because I wanted to give this whole Jesus thing one last shot: to see if I could find people who still joined Jesus in overturning the money lenders tables in the temple, while also stooping in humility, kissing the white supremacist, homophobic, and patriarchal pharisees’ feet.

 

Annie Dillard writes, “I would like to learn, or remember, to live…. We could, you know. We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience–even of silence–by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting…yielding at every moment to the perfect freedom of single necessity (Living Like Weasels, Dillard).” As much as I sometimes want to fight it, I reluctantly admit that Christianity might be that most live spot in my life, the most tender and vulnerable pulse that evokes in me the deepest and most carnal emotions of joy, fear, sadness and anger. Like Dillard says, I want to learn to live life alive: yielding to the instincts that enliven me to serve and enact change. My callings should make me feel alive: a calling should not lampse into a boring or tedious part of my weekly schedule. My hope is that this year will be a journey towards finding out whether or not Christianity is my single necessity: and if so, yielding to that impulse as though it’s the only thing that will keep me alive.

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Framing My Future -Faith Bessette

2 months

in Denver, Colorado.

6 months

ago that idea seemed too far away to comprehend.

12 months

earlier I was sitting in my room, listless and unsure of where I was supposed to be.

 

The more days I can cross off the calendar,

the more I’m sure that I was brought to this place with a purpose.

 

A once clouded and hidden picture is revealing itself,

slowly and surely as time passes by.

 

(Which is happening way too quickly, might I add)

((I’ve lived here two. whole. months. That is absolutely wILD))

 

With every shift at Urban Peak,

every community night dinner we host at the house,

every FaceTime call with Weston Morris.

 

I am grounded in the fact that I made the right choice.

 

There is light peaking through many parts of the frame now.

What was once an ominous, almost hazy looking canvas,

is now splattered with sections of bright color.

 

Small slivers of clarity.

 

12 months

ago I had no vision of the foreseeable future.

I knew what tomorrow would bring,

maybe even next week.

But further than that was a somewhat terrifying thought.

 

6 months

after that, I had a plan.

A plan where I was flying by the seat of my pants,

but a plan no less.

 

2 months

in Colorado, and I’m starting to see fragmented pieces of the life

I think I want to have when this year is through.

 

I’m not certain I can see anything tangible right now,

but it’s a relief to know that my eyesight is improving.

 

(Only metaphorically though, my real life eyesight is for sure getting worse.)

((Growing up is cool.))

A Poem That I Like (and a blog title that I don’t)-Rachel Pozzo

 

A Psalm of Life

BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

 

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

 

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

 

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

 

In the world’s broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!

 

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act,— act in the living Present!

Heart within, and God o’erhead!

 

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time;

 

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

 

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.

 

As someone who is constantly struggling with apathy, yet striving to be an active part of God’s kingdom here on Earth, I love this poem.  There’s lots of truth here.  I was going to highlight parts I particularly love, but that’s pretty much the whole thing.  Friends, I fail daily.  I know what the Lord requires, and yet I follow my own feelings.  That is not the way to “be a hero in the strife.”  That won’t leave footprints that point to God.  I chase so many things that really don’t matter, and ignore those things that do.

I am thankful that God chooses to look upon me as His precious child.  Someone worthy of love, sacrifice, and redemption.  That He allows me to be a part of His righteous and glorious works on Earth.  I don’t deserve this, yet by the grace that God willingly and abundantly pours out, He uses broken sinners in divine ways.  He took the consequences of our actions upon His own body and spirit to enable us “to act, that each to-morrow/Find us farther than to-day.”

I hope that tomorrow I will better honor that sacrifice and cling to hope as a slave to righteousness in Christ.

Integrity (an acrostic poem) – Weston Morris

I have been really pleased about the snow in Steamboat so far.

Northwest Colorado Center for Independence (NWCCI) went to Denver this past weekend for a national independent living conference. I had my first American Sign Language conversation and learned about diversity in the disabled community.

The last few weeks have been hectic and have certainly had their ups and downs, but whenever it snows, even for a few minutes, I am reminded that time is passing and

Everything is beautiful.

Great friendships have been getting me through. Friendships with people here are growing steadily, and my friends in far away places have been showing up for me as if they knew I needed them.

Rituals of living have been put on hold since I’ve been out of town, but I am excited to get back into the swing of things.

Independent living is one of the most radical movements of community support that I have ever been a part of. Every person has a right to live independently with dignity, regardless of disability.

This weekend I am planning on spending some quality time with my roommates, who I’ve missed over the last two weeks. We will go costume shopping and watch Star Wars.

Y’all, friendship is the key to happiness.