Last night, the CSM staff went to the Grand Lux Café for an end of the summer dress-up-nice-and-smile-for-the-camera kind of celebratory outing. It is hard to believe that I am almost done working in Chicago. After I host a group this week, I will spend few days in the city before going home for the rest of the summer. Part of me is excited to have a break before school starts, but I am nonetheless sad about leaving such an awesome place and moving away from new friendships. God has used this summer to open my eyes to the hurting in Chicago and break my heart for people here and all over the world. This week, I have a feeling that I will be spending a lot of time thinking about how I can bring my experience home with me.
One of the things that God has taught me this summer through spending time with kids at By The Hand is how to jump into life without reservations. Apparently it only takes a few kids saying “come on, man” to convince me that I should go down a slip-n-slide before using public transportation to return home wet or dive into Lake Michigan while still wearing all of my clothes. If I held onto my hesitation, the kids would have had a less cool day (because doing anything with a big kid automatically makes a kid’s day super cool) and I probably would have gone home regretting not jumping in. And in the end, it was a lot of fun.
Doing that – jumping in – is not always easy. Sometime between kindergarten and high school graduation, I was taught that nonsense of the sort should be contained in a controlled, planned out environment, where no one would get hurt (or wet.) I am a product of my own conditioning, but sometimes God calls me out of that routine. He is the master of pushing my buttons; it seems like God always burdens my heart to do exactly what I do not want to do. Perhaps life is a giant slip-n-slide. Sloshing water slightly pushes us to either side of the long tarp, but if we only keep our balance steady and let the forces of momentum and gravity guide us, we will reach our goal of hitting the puddle at the end. Once we are all-skin-on-tarp, we can only smile and trust that a holy Physics will keep us from rolling into the grass. The hardest part, though, is jumping in – taking that first running start, and letting our bodies collide with the tarp. I do not know which slip-n-slide God will be sending me down next, but I pray that I will hear a divine spirit saying “come on, man” and that I will have the faith to jump in.