washington whimsy

To those I love in Bellingham: a letter


Today, for the first time in I couldn’t tell you how long, I left my house on a Saturday. Not to go somewhere or do errands or meet someone, I left my house with my ipad and journal to go sit at a coffee shop.And I was walking in the crisp, bright, winter air I looked at the downtown skyline which has become one of my favorite views- the mountains created a back drop to the herald sign, the red museum creating a stark contrast to the blue skies. Beauty in unexpected things. It reminds me of the beauty I found in Beira, Mozambique when we had to live in the city, or the beauty of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Finding beauty where your feet are.

But, as I was contemplating that I was hit with a thought that welled up some tears in my eyes and caused my heart to race. So here it is:

To my people in Bellingham:

Growing up,my mother’s kitchen table always had Diet Coke, at least two remotes, some form of baked good and a hodgepodge of people. The doorway of our house was crossed by humans from lots of different walks of life, ages, journeys, people in the highs and lows.

It’s part of the reason why I love inviting people over and meeting people where they are at. And I think it’s why I’ve always had and been comfortable in so many different groups of people. And why I am friends with a handful of people I’ve never actual met or have only known in person one or two weeks of my life.

But I believe I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you people, those I interact with on AT LEAST a weekly basis (if not daily) here in Bellingham are the most eclectic group of humans I’ve ever encountered.

And man do I love you guys.

And what’s funny is that I only interact with people here that are somehow connected to one of two places: The Y or A Life. My job and my church.

But what a difference it’s made.

The realization I had, the thing that finally hit my heart even though the knowledge has always been there, even though it’s a truth I love to remind people of, is that knowing all of you guys, specifically in this time in my life has caused me to know more of who I am then I ever thought possible.

As I said, that tidbit was in my brain, the knowledge was there. Every conversation, interactions, the laughter, the tears, all those things stored together from people have been building blocks. It’s normally not something you truly realize until you are in a high emotions situation or a situation when you are around the same people day in and out where you begin to realize bits and pieces of yourself through them.

You guys have been the most wonderful piece of self discovery.

Because of everyone of you I’ve not only learned more of who I am, but more of who I want to be.

And I believe every time I said I wanted to run it was because all of the things I was learning and feeling and desiring were becoming far too big for the life I had been living. All the ugly surfacing were dreams and desires and hopes I had buried long ago for fear of getting hurt.

Before I moved here, I would, here and there, struggle with comparison and jealousy and loneliness and lack of identity, but the last year and a half all of those things have been stirred up, multiplied and fleshed out.

And that has made me want to run.

But not you guys.

Everyone of you has kept my feet planted.

Because I think, I believe, I know, that there are aspects in each and everyone of you that have caused me to want more, desire more, be more.

That all became too big for my heart.

You guys believed in me when I didn’t think I had anything to believe in.

You chose more for me when I thought I was done with more.

What a beautiful thing.

And it causes me to think of the people I had and still very much have before here, that encouraged me to get to this place, and the people before that and that.

My life journey is filled with people. Beautiful, lovely, whimsical human beings from all places and countries and backgrounds.

My desire in life is to be so wholly myself that it causes others to see more of who they are.

And Bellingham has been a shocking, surprising, not always welcome huge step towards this very thing.

Bellingfamily and Yfamily and all those connected to the two, I need you to know that I’ve never wanted to run from you. I’ve wanted to run from the life that was getting too beautifully big for the box I had. I wanted to run from the emotions that all of that was bringing up that I’d gotten supremely used to ignoring.

But you? Never you.

PS

Find people. Find multiple groups of people. Find people you agree with. Find people you disagree with. People who live life differently then you and those who walk the same road. Find people who worship the same and find those who believe differently. Sit across tables from them, break bread them, clink glasses with them. Laugh with them.

And learn, even if it’s just for a night.

Learn who they are, where they come from, how they make a sandwich.

And when you wake up, I guarantee you will have found more of yourself.

In the similarities, the differences and the universal truths.

Let’s choose, daily, to bring the people around us to more of who they are.

Honest, hope is a verb

an afro, some sequins (& 92 kids)

(before I begin this: a shoutout to the incredibly amazing, lovely, dance party-riffic staff & counselors of Newport Mesa Church’s Royal Family Kids Camp. Your kindness, encouragement and love spurred me on last week and I was completely and utterly humbled by your words!)

Last year in February I did ministry for the day along with 5 others from my squad at a maximum security prison in Trujillo, Peru. If I’m being honest I wasn’t THAT nervous. Sure, I was a little nervous. But I’d prayed and ask for God to shield my eyes from things I shouldn’t see and to protect my ears from things I shouldn’t hear. I felt protected.

I stood up in front of men in that prison and helped lead worship, spoke words from God.

I was at peace.

Last week I stood in front of 92 kids between the ages of 7-11 and was scared to death.

image_3            (the carpool crew before we headed up the mountain)

Hilarious much?

Last week I was the Bible story teacher at Royal Family Kids Camp. RFKC is a week of fun and happiness for kids who are in the foster care system. Some of them are from pretty rough backgrounds; living in foster families, group homes, separated from siblings. For the most part life for them hasn’t been easy. So RFKC happen around the nation and they are filled with volunteers who come together to make a week of fun, love and joy for this kids.

This is my fourth year volunteering and my first year as the bible story teacher. So each chapel I would teach the kids the memory verse (Psalm 23:4), do some sheep trivia questions and after singing  and dancing I would get up and tell them stories about David and the Good shepherd.The first morning I was TERRIFIED.

Would I be able to hold the attention of (most) of the kids? Would the counselors hate me for taking too much time or even worse not enough? Would the staff totally regret their decision to have me take the job?

image_2(my trenta)

So many doubts as I went to step up and took the mike for the first time. I got up that first chapel and talked about shepherds and the awesome teen staff helped me with a skit. And as I finished my first day of stories my nervousness began to go away because I realized I was doing something I love more then anything.

Getting the privilege of telling kids that they are not only special and loved but that God has a plan for them.

And these kids need to hear that desperately.

In that I realized where my fear came from. In all the times last year I stood in front of a mike and talked or sang, I never was really nervous because I didn’t really care what other people thought (and of course for the most part no one spoke english).

image_1(Lauren// fellow WR Alum// fellow Californian// fellow adventurer)

Put me in front of a mike in front of a group of kids with short attention spans, friends I respect and people I don’t really know and I forget why I ‘m really there.

The next day I showed up to chapel in a sparkly sweater and an afro and a lot more confidence and love.

Because all that mattered was that the kids listened long enough to know we love them, Jesus loves them and He has a plan for them.

THAT’S what I want my life to look like no matter has scary it seems. I want people to know they are loved by Jesus, that He has a plan for them no matter where they are in life.

I admitted a few things to the kiddos last week between shouting psalm 23:4 and apparently looking like a a crossover between MJ and Bob Marley; I admitted I’m blind as a sheep, I need google, that I was afraid of the dark and that I’m 29 and still unsure completely what I want to be when I grow up.

But what last week taught me is that standing in front of someone (or many someones) and encouraging them to go and do and be is a big part of who I am and what I want to be.

So yes, I was scared this week before I put on the sparkly sweater.

Because kids? are scary.

Adults? they are scary too.

People who understand english?

Yep, scary.

The bottom line, the thing that helped me get over the fear is the reminder that God has a plan.

image_4

I’m leaving Thursday for another adventure.

And just like those kids, God has a plan. And that information grounds me a little. I’m getting on a plane Thursday by myself and I’m antsy and nervous. I’m so thankful I have friends meeting me on the other side.

That’s all for now. Last week was a beautiful blessing and I can’t wait to see my Royal Family again next year.

I may or may not have more blog stateside (or on my enormous 4th of July layover in Turkey) But I treasure your prayers and encouragement in this next part of life. And if you are able and willing I still need some help and support for this journey. All donations are tax deductible: Click HERE to donate and make sure you type “Meg Reeve” in the notes. (And if you’d like a postagram from Espana shoot me your mailing address!!)