Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Well, I'm home. After a wonderful 12-day road trip, I'm back in St. Paul and getting ready to start senior year at Luther Seminary on Monday.

Yes, that makes me a senior for the 3rd time. Alas, this year there are no nocturnal spray painting raids or screen printed t-shirts to celebrate being at the "top of the totem pole".

I will continue writing, but not at this address. Please follow me to the Life at Luther blog and read tales from four of us at Luther this year. I will be posting weekly, but I cannot guarantee the kind of shenanigans I pulled on internship. This will be a strict, productive and academic year...

Yeah, that's not true. I'll be balancing classes, a student work position in Seminary Relations, wedding planning, the candidacy and call process and teaching 8th grade confirmation. There will be plenty to write about!

My Mountain View blog will remain online indefinitely, so you are welcome to click back through the archives and keep it alive with conversation. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you'll join us at Life at Luther!

Monday, August 13, 2007


I started blogging last August because I wanted to wonder aloud about this ministry thing. It seemed like a simple way to keep in touch with people from the Twin Cities and my home congregation. Then I blogged because it was fun and because the gracelits in my life are too wonderful to keep all to myself.
Last September I attended a conference in Chicago and learned the most important lesson of my life. I started chatting with my cab driver - a middle aged man from Haiti who played professional soccer and traveled the world looking for his childhood sweetheart. We had nothing in common apart from our faith in Christ, but that was enough to make me hug him an hour later at the airport. In a sea of people, we'd found each other and connected.
"Meta, do you know why we have shared?" Hmm. Because I'm chatty? Because you were bored and trapped? He disagreed. He asked if I had heard of the cachet de la vie. I told him I hadn't, but that it sounded fabulous and French.
"It is the box of life. Look around at all these people. Some are hurrying and worried and angry and lonely." I turned to see people lost in the shuffle of calling cabs and checking luggage curbside, clutching their passports or talking on cell phones. "Most people in this world are running around trying to figure out what is in the box, trying to take what is in the box, arguing about the box, peeking in the box or trying to steal what is in the box for themselves. People like you and me have little in common, but we share what is important. We both believe that whatever the box contains is good. And that, my friend, leaves us time to see and grace each other."
Martin has set the tone for my internship and given me new eyes to see the gracelits at work in my life. He has reminded me to trust and given me time to see more clearly. It is from this place I have blogged and it is from this place I pray I will learn to live more fully.
May you trust that cachet de la vie contains something very good. And may this faith give you time to see and grace each other.
Thanks for wandering with me this year! I'm off to meander through the west in my packed purple car and slowly back to St. Paul. This fall you can find my wonderings at the Life at Luther link to your right.
See you back in Minnesota!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tomorrow my internship is over.

For the past week I've been trying to balance the routine things about life and my job here with the urgency to visit with people and seek final adventures before leaving. For weeks I'd planned to visit a parishioner's factory just south of the border - to meet his employees and learn more about the town I can see from the golf course and the big, trashy-looking fence that divides us.

On Tuesday I planned for my last Wednesday morning bible study. I'm leaving in the middle of our exploration of Daniel and would say goodbye after we discussed chapter 6 and the lion's den. This was the last thing on my internship to-do list and I was looking forward to one more hour with the rag tag group.

It was eleven o'clock on Wednesday night before I realized I'd missed it. I planned for it, promised several attendees I'd be there and I completely flaked. Instead, I was in Mexico and completely unaware of my mistake.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I started to bawl uncontrollably. I'd been waving off any outward emotion or final goodbyes so far, postponing them until they were absolutely necessary. Suddenly I realized that Wednesday morning bible study was over and I missed my chance to say goodbye to the group.

For close to an hour I was unable to admit that this would turn out just fine. I was disappointed in myself and frustrated that I'd let down so many people. This was the last impression I was to leave? I was a flake who left the country when I was expected to do one simple thing in the last week of internship. Why couldn't I do this my during first week?

"You're not very good at failing," Matt said. "Nobody expects you to be perfect and nobody is going to remember you as the girl who flaked. Nobody is gonna hate you because of this. It's just a reminder that one year in ministry doesn't make you flawless. You're gonna keep making mistakes and forgetting things because you're human."

I was unable to believe the forgiveness and grace I preached all year until I called them. I was on the phone the first thing Thursday morning apologizing. They answered laughing, forgiving, sending me mercy through the telephone lines. They were proving Matt's little sermon right.

Tomorrow is my last day. We will worship and picnic and say goodbye. Maybe I bawled and blew things out of proportion because I know tomorrow will be difficult. There are so many faces and stories and hugs and memories.

I thank God for sending me to a church that has loved and embraced me for who I am. They have proven that I can be myself and pastoral, human and forgiven. They have shared themselves and raised me to believe in the things I preach. They have given me tools to serve and blessed me on my journey.

I will cry saying goodbye tomorrow as I did writing a message for next month's newsletter, as I did receiving a beautiful quilt made just for me, as I did when I thought I'd failed them.

It has been all too good - the flying and the falling, the laughing and the crying.