Monday, June 22, 2009

I love it here, I really do. I'm just having a day.


Today is Father’s Day, dad’s birthday, and the longest day of the year. I don’t have a whole lot of news to report, or any commentaries, but it’s an odd day because I feel like I should be outside till the last second of daylight, enjoying it, but I find myself wishing it were the fall and I was back in Boston. Even if that means it gets dark at 4:30 (which it does) it would mean I’m living with one of my best friends, am in a ministry with some of my closest friends, in a place I’m totally comfortable in, and would probably be looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving. I’m happy here in DC and I am so grateful to be here. I feel like I have to emphasize that so I don’t seem like I’m not grateful or am changing my mind on the blessing God has given me in my internship and being in DC. I don’t at all wish for August 26th when I’ll be leaving, but I realized today that this is my third “move” in the last three years to a place where I have to build relationships from scratch. (Boston, New Orleans, DC) And I’m tired of it. Not in a “I’m fed up and mad” kind of way, but in a “this is exhausting and I want a break for a while from it” kind of way. I would just like to be with what is most comfortable and the people that know and love me the most. It’s amazing how we can pray so earnestly for things and God can even give them to us, and then when they come, we aren’t quite…well, we just don’t say on cloud nine too long.
Sometimes rejection makes you desire and work that much harder, which can be good. But when you finally get what you want, it’s not always fireworks and flying. It’s worth it, but I guess the ultimate thing I realize is that’s why our stock and hope cannot be in anything other than God. HE NEVER FAILS OR DISAPPOINTS. It’s so funny just to see how God works – which we really don’t even see or comprehend a fraction of – how there is one, ultimate truth and God is doing everything to get us there. To be with him, to become like him. And we pray for things we want, he has his will, sometimes they coincide, we fight him, we cry, we laugh about it, we get humble, we change. I know what I just described is life, but you know those moments where for a few minutes you’re able to sit back and look at everything and just throw your hands up in the air and say, “I get it”? “I don’t know anything. God IS so loving and good. Now I understand why I have to trust him”? I think we have to suck those moments for everything they’re worth, to help our faith and perseverance until we get another one of those moments to keep our faith strong till the next time. And it’s everything that leads up to those moments that I think are often the plans of God that we do not understand – losing a job, not getting an internship, moving somewhere new, breaking up, being in a certain class for a semester, etc. God is just so much bigger and incomprehensible and inconceivable that we can grasp. And we can trust him because of it.
So I think that is something I would have to add in my book on rejection/dreaming: ultimately, our goal cannot be that job, attending that school, getting those grades, marrying that person, having that wedding. It has to be to follow God and become more like him, because that’s the agenda God is on. What we can and I guess should dream about, is how all that will happen.

I’ve been here two full weeks now, so this week, without a doubt, I am doing some fun DC things. Starting Friday. A bientot!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

and she's off!

I’m in DC!!

I’m starting my second week here, but really, my first week completely settled and not exhausted. I got in last Saturday and stayed with a family that I had been in touch with for a while (the Blockers) for a couple days, until the family I am now staying with for the whole summer (the Mennealys) got back into town. Between moving from house to house, figuring out the metro system of DC, starting my internship, getting up at 5:45am for work, etc., it was a slightly tiring week. But this weekend has given me good time to catch up on sleep, completely unpack, and get to spend some time with the Mennealys (Scott and Donnita and baby Logan) and the campus ministry here. Being settled, I now really feel full of anticipation and excitement about the rest of the summer.
I am really encouraged that I’ve gotten adjusted so quickly, not that I really thought I would have a hard time, but I’ve learned things can be completely different than what I expect. The fact that things have gone smoothly getting up here and the following pieces of encouragement from God have really made be ever more sure that God is taking care of me, HE has a plan, and maybe this time, I’m not fighting it and that’s why it will be great: (and in no particular order…)

a. I really like my internship! This first week felt like school…all studying…but I think it will get easier. I’m working at the Woodrow Wilson Center with…I might as well put their names because it makes it easier to talk about…Maria Ivanova, a professor from William and Mary College and Dan Fiorino, a professor at American University who worked at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for about 30 years. With Maria, I’m helping her with a chapter on her newest book on the UN Environmental Programme. The chapter is on international organizations and their structure and design, and whether or not that influences performance. Dan has two projects. The first is on nanotechnology (which I have had to learn all about) and its environmental impacts. The second is looking at why the US has historically been good at conservation but not sustainability, and how that can change. I will be doing mostly research throughout my time here, but also getting to meet with people at the EPA. And hopefully, the summer will be filled with exciting and “careerly” beneficial meetings and experiences.

b. Oh, my building is three blocks away from the White House! It is so cool. The Reagan Building (where the Wilson Center is located) is in such a great location! I can easily get to tons of museums and monuments, and if they’re not in walking distance, the nearest metro stop is literally 25 yards from the entrance of my building. I feel like all that in and of itself is just God knowing what would encourage me and giving it to me.

c. Staying with the Blockers was so much fun and the perfect way to transition up here. I already feel like they’ve become and are becoming a surrogate family for me here. Andy, who was an advisor for Clinton when he was president and former VP of the New York Stock Exchange, works very near to where I do and since I have to leave with Donnita in the morning, which puts me in the city TWO hours before I start working at 9am, I’ve been able to hang out with Andy in his office some mornings. That has been a lot of fun and very encouraging. I might even be able to go with him some mornings to fundraiser breakfasts and congressional meetings that he has! It’s amazing to me that God has used him in such incredible ways, as a disciple, and that now I get to spend a summer building a friendship that I am sure will help me spiritually and secularly.

d. Since I will always be getting into the city two hours before I have to start work, I have decided that I am going to make that time enjoyable and memorable, instead of miserable and comatose. I’ve been having coffee/breakfast at Cosi, a really cute, urban coffee shop, but I’m going to start exploring for new shops and cafes and am going to figure out which monuments are near where I work so I can have quiet times there. How cool is that?!
I think those are the little things that I’ve thought about this week as being what have made my summer here off to a great start.

e. Oh, and it summer. Helloooo! Everything is better and happier in summer.

So, as most of you know, and have been the providers of :) , I receive the “how do you feel about everyone getting married” question quite often now. I’m not sure if things are finally clicking, if I’ve just had plenty of conversations about this, or if God is just giving me a lot more security and contentment, but I feel like I’m finally starting to embrace singlehood. Or, embrace that God has HIS specific and unique plan for me and, it’s perfect. So I’m going to fully love it and let him work and love me. I feel like I’ve said for a while that I’m going to live my life the way I want and enjoy it, and if someone wants to join in then, great! But I, more often than not, haven’t actually felt that way. I know so many women waste these years just thinking about the boyfriend or husband they don’t have and want and basically just sit in their little shell waiting. I obviously don’t want to be that and I’m grateful that I am only 21. But I do feel like I have wasted certain times or instances doing that. For example, I don’t want to look back at this time in my life or specifically my time in DC and realize that I didn’t enjoy it or do the things I want to do because I’m wishing I had someone to do it with me. And I don’t feel like I am. I am so excited about being here! About my time here! – all the museums and monuments I’m going to go to and see, the people I’m going to meet. And of course I’m going to build relationships here in the campus ministry, but I’m going to do these things for myself. And I’m not saying that in a selfish way. I’m just so amazed and grateful how God has led me, taken care of me, and given me this opportunity. I feel like this is possibly the first thing in the past three years that is something I’ve wanted and prayed about and received. I’m aware that God doesn’t have to answer my prayers the way I want and that if he doesn’t , that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me to the stars and back and in unimaginable ways; so I think I’ve grown in my gratitude for what he does do and I can see, and that he doesn’t have to do but does. (Oh, and I get to spend the FOURTH OF JULY in DC!! How exciting is that?!)

I’m sure I have more that I meant to write about had I done this earlier this week. I am going to work harder at writing much more often. And hopefully soon I will have lots more stories and pictures to include!

I would be so happy if any of you can come/want to visit me! It would be fun…. :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

in anticipation

Like I said, it would probably be a while till I wrote anything again. Sure enough, here I am, finally writing again over a month later. Much has changed since April 27th:
- I got through finals quite well, actually. It was the least stressful…dare I say relaxing…finals period I’ve ever had. And I did well!
- One of my closest friends got married in Philadelphia the weekend immediately after finals. It was a wonderful, beautiful, and perfectly-spring wedding!
- My best friend also got married, two weeks after the wedding in Philly. It was a wonderful, beautiful, super fun, and exhausting weekend. (And I say that with all love and joy! Really!) My duties were slightly more extensive as maid of honor, but everything went fabulously and I am grateful I got to be a part of everything.
- I had a ticket on hold to go to Cote d’Ivoire to work for HOPE worldwide for the summer and was working on getting all the appropriate shots and malaria pills, when I got an interview offer and then an internship offer at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC.
- I am now leaving in two days to spend the summer in DC, interning at the WWC, doing work and research on US environmental policy.
I am so excited! I am so excited that I get to spend the summer in WASHINGTON, DC, that I’m working on US environmental policy and think that this internship will really be a great opportunity to learn and meet people, and just that God answered my prayer. (I had been praying that whatever I did this summer would be, a) with other disciples of Christ, b) great for my resume/career, and c) either paid or in Africa. It is so cool and encouraging to me that what became my final two options were all of those. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but it is the first time in a while that I feel like God answered my prayers the way I wanted and my life is moving in a direction that I can be encouraged and faithful about. I don’t think God has to do either of those (answer my prayers the way I want or let my life unfold in the way I plan), nor do I always expect it. So I think I’ve become more grateful for the times where I feel like he does do those things. It makes me happy.

There were a couple of other things I had thoughts on, but I have to pack (yay!), so they’ll have to wait.

A bientot!