One year ago this Sunday, on the day of Epiphany, we the people of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor chose a “star word” from a basket filled with silver cardboard stars, each emblazoned with a single word. During Lent, we considered our words using a devotional I wrote for that purpose. In conversations during the year, several people told me how the word that had chose them was manifesting in their lives.
It was fascinating.
As I look toward a new year and a new season of Epiphany, I reflected on how my word, Guidance, directed my steps and influenced my actions, regardless of whether I was thinking about it or, more often, completely ignoring it.
I offer this as encouragement to each of you. All too often, we obsess about what we did in a given moment, or we form our identities by the ways in which we have failed or fallen short of goals. When we take a wider view over a period of time, we often see that we did more than we ever dreamed was possible. As we once again plan to let go of what no longer serves us well, and begin anew working toward dreams not yet realized, I pray that guidance from on high will enlighten your days and you will find whatever it is that you need to journey on.
Thank you for reading Take Off Your Shoes. I step blessedly into this new year with you.
Ways in which I sought or received guidance:
- Attended the Festival of Homiletics, Washington DC
- Participated in the Reclaiming Jesus silent prayer vigil at the White House, lead by Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and Jim Wallis, President and founder of Sojourners.
- Went on a bus tour of Detroit where historical landmarks guided us through a deeper understanding of the city and its people.
- Became social media friends with many of the Parkland survivors and gathered with 30 folks from King of Kings for the March for Our Lives to raise awareness of the need for sensible gun reform.
- Took a vacation to the Lilac Festival on Mackinaw Island and to Chicago to see Hamilton, in response to study I had done about balance of body, mind, and spirit and how attending to each sustains us for the work to which we are called.
Ways in which I offered guidance
- Celebrated the wedding of John & Sarah in June!
- Lead a Women’s Retreat on the topic of Peace
- Got my first tattoo: Black Lives Matter, on my forearm, which has helped me be an ally to young people of color in anxious public settings on numerous occasions.
- Attended a colleague’s installation at Emmanuel in Ypsilanti
- Lead a first-round of communion instruction to 2nd-5th graders and confirmed one high school freshman in her faith.
- Joined with two other churches for shared confirmation classes, a decision made after consulting with colleagues, teachers, and parents.
- Wrote for Sundays & Seasons
- Offered the keynote address at Advent by Candlelight at Ascension Lutheran Church in Bloomfield Hills
Ways in which I both received and offered guidance:
- Took a spontaneous trip to Tornillo, Texas with an Interfaith Caravan to learn more about the Immigration Crisis at the border and offer encouragement to both asylum seekers and those investing their days in providing them care.
In addition to all this, I experienced reconnecting with a niece, reconciling with a friend, and reclaiming my interest in research which is leading me closer to a program of study I may begin in 2019.
All this to say, it is easy to believe, as the days slip away, that we are not enough, that we are not doing enough, that we are not moving forward in significant ways. And yet, when we take the time to look back, we often find that we are enough, that we did more than we realized, and that we are literally miles from where we began.
“Way to Go, Marinawell! In 2018, you:
- Walked 1,693,686 steps
- The equivalent of 1694 floors
- Or 704.66 miles
- Burning 647,936 calories”
— Your friends at FitBit