A few questions I got asked recently.
Q: what drains you about relational/apartment/incarnational/missional/neighborly/whatever-the-heck-we-are-calling-it-now living?
A: Hearing the domestic disputes through the paper-thin walls. Loud, angry voices, at all hours of the day. Wondering if you should call the cops, then being very regretful when you do. The cockroaches. The mice. The anthills exploding up through the carpet. The constant threat of bedbugs.
Becoming embedded in a community and a neighborhood so different from the one you were brought up in, far from the successes and the upwardly mobile of the world, then being asked on a dime to enter back into the other America, where you are meant to smile and give poignant updates and do no harm and not make anyone feel terribly guilty all the while withering inside for more people to just do the hardest simple things, to be planted and sprinkled like seeds throughout the entire world, to be relationally embedded, to commit to not going anywhere. to try to communicate both the depths of trauma and chaos and despair and also speak into words the fact that you have met Christ here, the one you had always dreamed about, the kindest, best, most prophetic, caring, angry Savior one could ever hope for, and he is out wandering the wilderness and he cannot possibly be as tame as we desire him to be.
also: trying to convert people.
Q: what energizes you?
praying with people and reading the scriptures, begging for eyes to see and hearts to obey, none of us knowing the answers, our eyes continually grower wider and wider to the ways the Spirit moves in the world, experiencing the kingdom here and now, longing with broken hearts for it to come in full.
acknowledging the truth that I am a privileged, racist, emotional girl, working through her savior complexes and moralistic interpretations of scripture, moving into a neighborhood with so much baggage as to be back-breaking, a do-gooder, a mistake-maker, a failure, a colonizer. and people, my neighbors, choosing to love me anyway: reading scripture, opening doors, showing up to classes, cooking me meals, shoving presents and dollars bills into my daughter's hands, texting me, embracing me, enveloping me with clouds of perfume and jangles of bracelets, accepting me just as I am, their eyes seeing right through me, their hearts of love and hospitality healing me more than I could have ever known I needed.