Thursday, December 31, 2009

An insignificant summary of an amazing year

New Year’s Eve 2009
An insignificant summary of an amazing year

“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it—and stop there.” Mark Twain

What a milestone year! Sometimes there are 1 or 2 changes and/or events that capture the heart of the year, but this year I feel like there have been so many things that I’m hoping to follow Mark Twain’s advice and just stick to the wisdom that the year has contained and “stop there.”

Every 40 years in the life of Moses, God completely shifted his path to a new and prepared path. I feel like Moses this year. As I was aware of turning 40, the circumstances of my life shifted to a new and prepared path. As 2009 started, it was being made abundantly clear by God that the path to starting a new school was being both cleared and prepared by God. It was also clear that I would need to maintain some type of part-time work to support myself. There were several options that I thought would be good fits for me at my current school, but those kept falling through. It came down to either keeping my job full-time or quitting altogether. As I prayed with my community for some guidance, a third option appeared. I have a consulting position with the school district 2 days a week that is funded by a grant I helped prepare the year before! I work with 9th grade teachers at the 4 high schools integrating technology into their curriculum. It’s a perfect fit and has combined structure and flexibility to help me be present at the launching of this new school.

The summer months were filled with preparation to open the doors of the school in the fall. There was new paint, new lights, preparing classrooms, preparing space, and then waiting. Randy (my co-director) and I had done everything we could to “build” a school, but the waiting was for God to fill the school. We were ready to start with 1 student in each of the 2 grades we prepared to open, but God blessed us and our preparations by preparing the hearts of 9 families to participate in the new path. We opened the school supported in so many ways by Pasadena Mennonite Church and Urban Village!

On 9.9.09 at 9am, we opened the doors to the original 10 students of the Peace & Justice Academy, the first Mennonite school in California. In spite of trying to start with just 2 grades, we were blessed with 4 and have been enjoying the challenges of that. We have spent the fall learning new things together and preparing our community to receive new students in the coming years. This is where the wisdom will have to wait. I’m daily learning so much from the students, the families, the community, and those involved that I’m overflowing. Words are not sufficient for the emotions and amazement I have that God has allowed me to participate in this new work.

With all the change, it has been time for God to change me also. I feel like I know myself in new ways and am amazed by all that has happened in my life to prepare me for this next stage in my journey of life, both professionally and personally. I have an increase appreciation and love for Urban Village, the intentional community in which I live. They are amazing folks and I feel like we continue to grow and learn from each other in new ways! The joys and sorrows of that community have been very helpful in preparing me for the new roles I have in the world.

I could go on, but I think it’s time to “stop there.” This year will be one I look back on for many years as one where I had the choice of new and prepared paths that were graciously provided by God.

Blessings and love in the New Year!