Reflecting on what God has taught me recently, and due to a recent conversation I had with a new friend and colleague, I think that I am going to try to start to journal (I haven’t started yet). I have tried it off and on in the past – more off than on – but I remember that those times I did write my thoughts down, I had a much clearer sense of what was actually going through my head.
So why am I writing this on my public blog that I haven’t updated in months? No, I am not going to copy those journal entries on here. But I think that there is value in a public journal of sorts as well. For example, last summer I wrote many different entries onto this blog about my trip to the Philippines. If you’re sitting there saying to yourself “I never knew David went to the Philippines,” then check out some of my archived posts. These provided my family and friends with information about what I was doing and how they could pray for me.
While this is a benefit, I don’t think that it is the biggest one. Instead, I think that there is huge value in writing ones thoughts into words. When appropriate (and when the time is available), I think that this practice of making such words public is valuable – both for the growth of the author and for the readers (I have also been inspired to try to blog again by reading a couple of my friends’ blogs).
And so here I am, once again saying that I might try blogging, after saying it in the past and never going anywhere with it. Let’s see what happens this time. I decided that a new template, a new subtitle, and new colors were needed. That old green blog is kind of gross, now that I think about it. Welcome to my newly updated, newly designed blog.
I hope that I am more successful in this blogging attempt than I have been in the past. More importantly, though, I hope that I am more successful in journaling than I was in my past journaling and blogging attempts.
Everything. At least that’s what it feels like. If you are reading this, chances are good that you know I am living and working in Boston. If you know Boston at all, you’ll be interested to know that I am living in the ‘hood – Dorchester, that is. Inner city life is a new experience, as I’ve always lived in the suburbs or in a college dorm the rest of my life – with the exception of the 3 months that I spent in the Philippines. Honestly, I am loving it here. Yeah it gets noisy at times, but I have made some good friends, and I am enjoying what I am doing.
I have come to serve a 1 year stint funded through the AmeriCorps with the Christian community development organization, TechMission. I have been hired to be a web developer. In addition to maintaining the website, I am assisting with web server administration, I help with our local area network (LAN), and I provide technical support to the other staff in our office.
But this is not the reason why I decided to start blogging again. You can follow me on Facebook or call me or hang out with me to get the scoop on what I’ve been up to. No, I hope and plan to take more of a journalistic approach. Not journalism as in writing a news article, but journalistic in my musings, thoughts, frustrations, things I’ve learned, things God is teaching me, and so on and so forth – you get the idea.
I am going to start off by saying how blessed I feel, and how thankful I am for friends. When I was in middle school and high school – wow, that was a long time ago – I really struggled with identifying with people and making lasting friendships. I purposefully backed out of some friendships in middle school – which was hard, and left me very, very lonely. Middle School is tough enough as it is!
This is what made college so meaningful to me. Covenant College provided me with lasting friendships – some of which I suspect will never completely fizzle out. I can’t count on 1 hand the number of guys I could call up at a moment’s notice, and I know they would be willing to drop what they were doing and would listen to me. This, my friends, is a huge blessing. May I never take friendships for granted.
Making those friendships is what has made my transition to Boston all of the more meaningful. I came here not knowing what to expect, and wondering if I would be able to “plug in” quickly. Now, after 1 month of being here, I can’t count on 1 hand the number of Christian people that I have begun to hang out with on a consistent basis – their company is awesome!
Tonight, I joined a community group where most of these same friends participate, which has been formed as a result of the church that I have decided to get involved in. I truly feel connected to the Body of Christ – and to really cool people – all of this, after living here for less than 1 MONTH! May I never take these friendships for granted.
The second (and final) thing that I will write about in this obnoxiously long blog post is how strengthened and encouraged, spiritually, I have felt while I have been up here. Not only am I blessed with brothers and sisters in Christ, but the organization that I work for is a Christian organization (and yes, AmeriCorps is funding this – I “work on AmeriCorps” time when I am actually doing work for the organization – I don’t get paid when I’m doing any religious activity).
The staff at TechMission gets together normally 4 times / week for prayer, worship, and reflection on a book that we are reading. We are going through Brennan Manning’s “Abba’s Child” right now. I’ve never read anything by Manning before, but I have always wanted to. The book is incredible.
So far, it has provided a hugely important reminder to me that there are times that I need to slow down and work on myself for a little bit. I have recently been reminded of how human I am. When I sit down and start doing my devotions on a regular basis, things go great … for about however long that it takes me to realize things are going great. And then life kicks into high gear again, and I loose this consistency. I like to use the metaphor of a spiritual roller coaster. All my life, it feels like that it has been going up and down, up down, up down. Perhaps a couple loops have been thrown in there too.
This is one of those points in my life where I feel like I’m going up again. It’s at times like this that I often wonder, “Can I possibly get into a consistent basis THIS TIME???”
Manning’s book (or at least, the first 3 chapters that I’ve read so far) has helped me think through what it means to really be a follower of Christ. In chapter 1, Quoting Thomas Merton, he writes, “The reason we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with God is that we so seldom acknowledge our utter nothingness before him.”
Pride has been an issue for me in the past. I take pride in where I’ve come from, I take pride in my accomplishments, and worst of all, I take pride in my head knowledge. Oh, the downsides of a college education! This probably results in the fact that I sometimes talk about myself too much. I have become convinced that it this is not only my issue, but is a human race issue.
In Chapter 2, Manning writes about the “Imposter Within” and how we so often like to put on a mask to the outside world. I confess that I haven’t read this chapter in its entirety – maybe I should be doing that than writing this – but it was a great reminder, nonetheless, that another issue that mankind faces is finding acceptance in the world.
Finally, in Chapter 3, Manning writes how we are “The Beloved.” Our true identity is in CHRIST and in no one else. I loved reading what Manning wrote about finding this realization: “In our solitude we tune out the nay-saying whispers of our worthlessness and sink down into the mystery of our true self.” (Emphasis Added). I confess that I need to finish reading this chapter too.
All of this to say, that working for TechMission may have been one of the best decisions I will ever make. I am learning a TON of stuff in the IT sector, I am able to combine my skills and experience in the IT industry with holistic community development (Community Development was what I studied as a major in undergrad at Covenant College), but most importantly, I am being spiritually filled – and the Lord has given me immense joy in this.
Not only am I blessed with wonderful Christian brothers and sisters, but I am also blessed to work for an organization that values a holistic relationship with God.
May I never take these things for granted.