I once compared my mind to a hamster in a wheel. My hamster even got his own name, that’s how easy it is to envision the scattered state of my attention span. My life has always had two speeds: fast and faster. I’ve challenged myself to write down my stream of consciousness and my pen quite literally couldn’t produce enough ink to keep up with my mind.

The past 4 months of starting the Fellows my little hamster wheel feels like it has grown larger than the ferris wheel at the fair. Every week we are taught new things in class, everyday I learn new things about life, and every minute I unfold a piece of my own story. My little hamster legs are just trying to keep up with every carrot taunting my onward (honestly a very funny metaphor to picture, I hope you are imagining alongside of me).

The Raleigh Fellows Programs subtitle in italics should state: A Season of Life Where You Gain Enough Information to Write a Textbook. The insider edition of said textbook would be pages of facts, nuggets of Truth, and quotes from ordinary people doing really extraordinary things. Sometimes the pages of information feel so heavy and daunting that I don’t know where to begin, so I just place it on the shelf and hope it goes along with the rest of the decorations.

One of my most recent chapters of my Italicized Informational Textbook would be titled “Leaning In”. It’s something I am not familiar with reading or doing. It takes me having to sift through as I process the words being thrown at me. It means creating margin of stillness in a schedule of chaos to think and hold and pray. Leaning in takes curiosity to search for answers and courage to realize that the A’s to your Q’s might not be displayed in a pretty way that you hoped them to be. Leaning in means looking lies straight in the face and saying no more. Leaning in is an invitation to walk and weep and laugh with Jesus.

Beyond all of the information, I can’t get over the people. We meet and hug and shake hands with humans whose stories breathe new life and redemption. I wish I could tape a GoPro on my forehead and rewatch every moment and listen to every conversation that unfolds whether it be in a seminar or at a coffee shop. I’ve seen a grown man cry as he explained “why would I hide my tears if I don’t try and cover up my laughter”. I have heard the Ambassador of Human Trafficking tell stories about his job and then sit across me at a cafeteria table and tell me about his wife. I have been encouraged to fight for equality by individuals who have worked for anti-racism rallies. I have learned about prayer through priests and family systems through teachers. I have seen life lived and healthy marriage displayed through family members in Raleigh who have invited us into their normal dwelling. The lists of fascinating people only fuel my fire of wanting to be Oprah in the hopes of getting paid to hear their stories (honestly, at this point hold the commission I’ll listen for free).

My desire for 2019 is to continue to lean with it rock with it.

And because my newfound passion includes me vibing with poetry I’ll end with this snippet by Idelette McVicker:

Let us rise to the questions of our time.

Let us speak to the injustices in our world.

Let us move the mountains of fear and intimidation.

Let us shout down the walls that separate and divide.

Let us fill the earth with the fragrance of Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us listen for those who have been silenced.

Let us honour those who have been devalued.

Let us say, Enough! with abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.

Let us not rest until every person is free and equal.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who are savvy, smart and wise.

Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.

Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.

Let us be women who say, Yes to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.

Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.

Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.

Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.

Let us be women who Love.