Our genogram paper is due Monday, and even though I’m stressed about it because I haven’t yet broken my proclivity for procrastination (whoops), I think it’s one of the coolest things that I’ve had to do as a Raleigh Fellow. It’s essentially a paper in which I’ll try to trace patterns in my family through generations and see how I fit into those patterns. I’ve had to interview my grandfather, parents, and siblings, asking them questions covering topics such as how their families of origin handled conflict and what sort of unsaid rules or expectations governed them. While I was extremely nervous to do these interviews, they led to some of the coolest conversations I’ve ever had with my family, particularly with my brother and sister. This assignment has opened the door to my having deeper relationships with my family members than I had thought possible.
Something else that has been on my mind recently is the sacredness of fellows relationships. There is something so beautiful about this community that I did not choose but that was chosen for me, this community that I share life-rhythms with. Although we all work different jobs, we work the same three days a week. Although we all have different host families, we all live with a family who loves Jesus and Church of the Apostles. Although we all didn’t specifically choose each other, we chose to be a part of a community that chooses to love one another, whether that loving is hard or easy.
I don’t know how to express why I think that this fellows community is so sacred. But, as I’m reflecting more, I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that this community is like the community that Jesus gathered around Him when He walked on this earth. He called the disciples; they didn’t choose each other. Some probably got along more naturally. Some definitely had more similar backgrounds and upbringings (looking at you brother-pairs: Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John). We know that they definitely argued and competed against one another (Luke 9:46). And yet, Jesus gathered them all together and called them to love one another, as He loved them.
Raleigh Fellows is a microcosm of His church. We’re called to love Him, to love one another, and to love the world. I do believe that our community is sacred space. What will it look like for me to remove my shoes, as Moses did in front of the burning bush because of the holiness of the ground (Exodus 3:5), for these last two and a half months of Fellows? What does it look like to honor the gifts that Fellows has given me, which includes the gift of this genogram assignment? I trust that the Lord delights in these questions and I know that He’s going to continue to meet me in ways that exceed my every expectation.