I didn't expect this season of life to be so bittersweet. In many ways, August is the culmination of months, if not years, of planning and preparation. I applied for scholarships, programs, and career steps because I wanted to make the most of this season of my life. I thought nothing could be better than a summer adventure in Vermont, a trip back home, and a semester abroad.
What I didn't realize is how bittersweet it would feel to leave so much behind. It was bittersweet to leave a job and community I was beginning to love in Vermont. Coming back to Atlanta after 3 months away felt so good and I was so happy to be in my little apartment, reminding me that I truly am a homebody at heart. It was hard to see campus life starting up again for the fall and knowing that I won't be there for it. It was bittersweet to come back to Seattle and see the city and community change without me. It was bittersweet to go to my grandparent's farm for the first time since my grandpa moved to an assisted living facility and no longer lives there. It was bittersweet to be back in Salem for the first time without my brother living there.
It is bittersweet to have my heart in so many places. Don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful for these opportunities and I don't mean to complain in the slightest. I'm just learning that even the most exciting time of life has shades of bittersweet. August was full of many of the people and places I love, which is a wonderful, albeit exhausting, gift.
What I'm Learning
CPE was an incredibly profound experience for me. I'm still struggling to write a full blog post about it because there's too much to write. I spent most of the summer feeling neutral about the whole experience, which was a strange feeling about me. I have an opinion about everything. However, as the unit went on, I saw the ways that God was working through the small, slow opportunities for pastoral care to teach and grow me in new ways. Maybe someday I'll write the full story.
What I'm Reading
It took almost 3 months on the library waiting list, but it was worth it to read Little Fires Everywhere. Ng's writing is easy to read and draws you in immediately. I loved the richness of her characters and the way she was always just a tiny step ahead of the reader. I listened to Ng's first novel on audiobook and found it unbearably slow, which I think would also be true of this. It's a good read, but don't bother with the audiobook. It's being adapted into a mini-series by Reese Witherspoon, which I can't wait for.
What I'm Preaching
At the end of the month, I had the opportunity to preach at my home church, Bethany Presbyterian Church. It was so good to be home that it hard to keep from openly crying during the service. I have missed worshipping with that congregation and it was so much fun to preach to a congregation that is ready and willing to laugh! It took me a long time to write, but it's one of the sermons I'm proudest of. I'd love if you'd listen to it here, or here, or here!
What I'm Watching
Rarely do I watch a movie more than once, and certainly not in the same week, but I had to make an exception for this movie that proves that rom-coms aren't dead. I watched it 3 times in the span of a week because I couldn't get over how much I loved it. I love teenagers dearly and I was so excited to see a movie that treats them well. I could talk about this movie for hours, but I'll try to contain myself to the things I loved most. The characters are rich and nuanced- neither the boy nor the girl has to radically change who they are to be worthy of love. The teenagers display emotional intelligence and genuinely healthy dialogue with one another. They talk about grief and death without it consuming their stories. The family's Korean identity is central to their lives and it proves that not only is representation important, it makes movies more fun to watch. It's wonderful from start to finish. I quickly read the two sequels, which I also loved. Three cheers for Jenny Han, because this film is an instant classic.
What I'm Drinking
I am approximately one millions years late to the kombucha craze, but I'm now all in! For some reason, I was always freaked out by kombucha and thought I hated it. My CPE colleagues drank it all summer and when finally asked to try it, I was shocked at how much I liked it. I'm going to have to slow myself down because this is going to get really expensive really fast! So yes, sometimes my Monthly Digest includes things that everyone else got into 4 years ago
How I'm Staying On Top of the News
Politics is mostly terrible these days and it's hard to follow the avalanche of terrible things going through Congress. I've been using GovTrack for the past few years and I find it very useful in keeping track of what my (garbage) Senators are voting on. It's been really helpful to see what is slipping under the radar and what the partisan split looks like on these issues. I highly recommend it if you're looking for a way to stay current with politics without engaging in the mess and stress of political commentary.
Where I've Been
I'm really taking the term "coastal elite" to the next level with my travels this year. Yes, those pink states are all the states I've been to this year alone. I'm tired just looking at it. I began the month with a road trip with my mom from Vermont to Maine and all the way back to Georgia. We basically drove the Appalachian Trail. After a few days in Georgia, I flew back to Seattle and then drove down to Oregon and Northern California to visit family. I've spent more time in a car this month than I'd like, but I'm grateful for all that I've gotten to see and do in this country.