Well it’s been a little over a week since I’ve been back, but I just couldn’t end this without one last post (pertaining to my YAV year…I may keep up this blogging thing after all). It’s a post that has been in the works for a while, but I wanted to share it now. I want to remember what it means when I say that this year changed my life. It’s actually in the YAV program’s slogan: “a year of service for a lifetime of change” and sure, at first I was a bit skeptical. Sounds a little bold. But I think just moving outside of the norm, living intentionally in service and simplicity really opens us up to the kind of life-changing we’re talking about here. So without further ado, I present to you a list I call:
“What I learned from living deep in the heart of Texas.”
-that simple living, in what I bring, need, shop for, and live off of is super doable and kind of awesome
-how to do ministry more sustainably while being mindful of our impact. House of Teens/MEYO seriously has this on lock
-that tacos and paletas (popsicles) can change your life and make you feel more Westside in an instant
-that food stamps make volunteers really really happy
-how little I actually need to drive and how you can really get to know a place when you take the time to walk
-that Barbara Brown Taylor still consistently rocks my world
-that being a volunteer=people take you out to eat all the time cause they know you poor. Oh, I’ll miss that.
-maybe just a little bit more about who I am and who I think God has called me to be
-how to lead a children’s choir (anytime!)
-how to play the wedding march and here comes the bride on the piano, that one’s for you, Adriana.
-how to sing and play many many mariachi rancheros
-a whole lot more Spanish than school ever taught me. Well ok…a whole lot of Tex-Mex if you want to be exact…
-that los Spurs are the greatest team in the NBA, and this city knows how to party when they win
-how to drive a 15 passenger bus, particularly one full of singing children
-that the art of fonts and clip art for the Spanish worship service is a serious business
-how to draw Elsa (but never as good as sweet Alex)
-all of the words to “Let It Go” (That’s on me. That’s what I get for including it in Karaoke Day…)
-that I have been lied to my whole life about what a true flour tortilla should taste like (the fluff is the key)
-how the church can be welcoming and inclusive to all people, regardless of their race or sexuality.
-that stray dogs and dog packs aren’t really so scary when you get to know them
-that living in community is hard and takes a lot of work
-that cascarones (confetti-filled eggs) are a painful tradition
-that my 3 point shot could still use some work, even after all the ballin we did this year
-some very interesting, and hip focused, dance moves from my very favorite dance partner, James
-that El Chilaquil has the best carne asada tacos you’ve ever had in your whole life. Plus the karaoke with mix master DJ Tony on the weekends ain’t too shabby either.
-that Meredith is a very difficult name to say in Spanish
-and with a little practice, how to play the djembe to the Spanish beats of ranchero guitarist David for church
Really, I miss being there everyday. I miss what my life looked like there. And also it’s just strange to look around and constantly find myself in a room full of white people. But mostly, I am thankful for this year because it has shown me a different way to live and it is an experience that will shape and inform my life from now on. Where would I be if I hadn’t move to San Antonio for a year? I honestly don’t know. But I thank God I was there. Because the people I met and the experiences I had really confirmed this one thing: God and this world full of God’s own creation is so much grander and more beautifully intricate than I’ve even began to realize, and stepping outside to see more of that is always worth it.
I want to say thank you to all who have journeyed with me throughout this experience. Your support means the world to me and I can’t thank you enough for that. Really.
Next stop: Princeton, New Jersey. Who’s with me?