Monday, June 17, 2013

people we meet

As I'm getting close to what is likely the end of my time in Minnesota (various details still to be worked out), and being all graduated and having classmates already beginning the post-graduation migration throughout the wild blue yonder, I'm reflecting on the people I know, the people I've met here, and people in other places.
Some people we meet and we know our interactions with them will be short lived. Some people come and go, many whose names we will never even know.
Thanks to the internet and all the ways of keeping in touch with people instantly all over the world, many people that would be part of our lives for only a short time get to remain on the peripheries, connected with us through the occasional e-mail, Facebook post, or online chat.
Then there are those people that we spend more time with, in classes or working together, connecting regularly for social occasions, etc. We share some common interests and a decent bit of time, often becoming familiar with some of each others' idiosyncrasies.
There are many layers of connections we make with people, from student-teacher relationships, peer relationships, random common interest relationships, etc. We are relational by nature, and we naturally connect with others in various ways while we are in a place. The thing about moving is how all those relationships change. They change over time anyway, but a geographic jump has a large affect. Who will I still be in regular contact with? Through which media? Will I ever see some of these people in person again? Probably not.
To me this also makes the idea of networking fascinating. We network with one another to fill various roles and needs in our lives, and while sometimes that can be manipulative, most of the time it is human relation and ingenuity at work.
The deeper bit of this that I ponder is those connections that have been deep and helpful that must change. We often meet someone who touches our life especially, maybe in a way we needed most at the time, or simply finding connections to some people that mean more to us than others. We experience this all the time, greater affinity for some people over others. These must also change over time and through distance, and I can't help but think about those old images of heaven I grew up with, when we all meet again together. Our life is never perfect now, and circumstances take us to and from people all the time, whether we want them to or not. Is this part of our promise for a hope and a future, a chance to spend time with not just family but also friends that we lose sight or touch of over the years? Can there be reunion of these treasured moments of relationship, in whatever form, when we are all redeemed and renewed? I want to think so. It seems to fall in line with God's vision for the future. I hope so.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

God's ambivalence

I will tell you, a week of manual labor when one has spent the last several years mostly sitting and studying will certainly clear the head through monotony and exhaustion. That and some helpful conversations. And I could use some clarity. I just graduated, and once again I am stuck in post graduation ambiguity. Unlike many of my classmates, I do not have a clear path ahead and no immediate full time job prospects. Thus I had been feeling quite a bit of anxiety as the semester wrapped up and since graduation, with various distractions thrown in, until this past week and the start of my summer job on grounds crew, mowing, weeding, etc.
Then I also had the chance to have some conversations, one in particular on balancing independence and dependence, that helped me chill out some and recenter myself a bit. Then this morning I went to worship and the sermon was, to use words from a conversation I had yesterday, about the ambivalence of God. Not that God does not care about us, but that God does not micromanage. Sometimes we will be presented with various opportunities, and sometimes they mean we have to make a choice where there is no clear right choice. So we seek guidance, and then do the best we can with our choice, and God can and will still work with and through us regardless of which way we end up going. One thing that often frustrates me is the inability to see very far into the future and thus being unable to discern what consequences lie on the path ahead, which leads to a proper amount of trust and dependence on God and others, which is something I have long struggled with (I am far too independent much of the time).
I still can't tell where exactly I'm headed, but I'm starting to take some small steps and hopefully will continue to be reminded to pause, breathe, and listen to the still small voices that will speak if I stop getting so distracted by the storm swirling around me.