This past weekend was far more difficult and emotional for me than I expected.
In retrospect, I think I believed that since God has given me such peace and assurance about my place in New Orleans that leaving Denver would be peaceful and simple. However, as I get closer to my twelve o’clock departure tomorrow, I realize that there really is no change without pain.
With every change there is loss. There is something we used to have, people we will miss, and a norm that has become a comfort to us even when we knew it was temporary.
Things will never be the same, and as overjoyed as I am to begin the next part of my journey (so excited I can’t even begin), leaving is a painful eye-opening to the many blessings I have had here in Denver.
For starters, the people I was able to work with at DenUM have been such great teachers and friends. I can’t even tell you how much I’ve learned about the social work setting. Having no experience coming into this year, It seemed like a never ending flow of new ideas and information, and yet I enjoyed the learning and growing that came from such a multi-faceted position. And honestly, they’re just great people. People who care and laugh and work hard. I pray some of their spirit has rubbed off on me.
And then there was my Blues Prayers family.
My mentor and friend, Vern Rempel, is the Senior Pastor First Mennonite Church of Denver. He invited me to participate in a new worship service where we would play music in the folk, blues, and jazz styles and offer brief reflections. This service became one of the times I looked forward to every week. It’s challenged me spiritually and musically, and I am so grateful to Vern for allowing me to speak several times throughout the year.
It has been such an honor to play with my incredible musician friends Tony and Taylor, and the few and steady attendees of Blues Prayers have been so kind and supportive. They have been a steady flow of creativity, gentleness, and hugs, and I will miss them immensely.
As if my relationship with Blues Prayers wasn’t enough, every Sunday evening I was blessed to attend Bloom.
Bloom’s church model and honest, insightful teaching filled my soul, reminding me each week who I was and centering me to mystery and beauty of Christ. The friendships I made through house church and the frisbee group I started will never be forgotten, and I hope to keep in touch as so many of them are going to do great things. I know it.
Finally, there isn’t room on the internet for the countless things the Dwell program has done for me, but what I will miss most is the people.
I already miss Maegen, Johanna, Meg and Sarah. Their lights in my life have shone into places I couldn’t have seen otherwise. They are living proof that knowing yourself takes place in the pervasive light of community as much as it does in your own heart.
Glenn Balzer and his family have been an awesome influence and sounding board for me this year. In the conversations and time we’ve had together, they have encouraged and loved those of us in the Dwell house and shown us the beautiful and difficult things a family can do when committed to Christ, to loving each other, and to living Love into the community around them.
Antonio Lucero and his family have been incredible. In them I have seen so much generosity, openness, and kindness. I aspire to be so open and generous as a way of taking their spirit with me. Antonio has given of himself and his time to the Dwellers freely, and I hope that his spontaneity and optimism have sparked those parts in all of us. He has become a true and trusted friend that I hope to keep.
Its a bright and hopeful pain I have in leaving this place, knowing the good it’s done for me and the people it’s brought me to will be a part of me as I go.
I would ask that those reading this would pray for safe travel and God’s comfort as I make this next step into my tiny part of God’s story, and that he would continue to reveal to me the gifts and lessons from Denver.
-grace and peace