It’s as If We Never Said…Goodbye

Yesterday was our last worship service at our old building. It seems surreal to call it our “old building”. But that’s what it is. There were many emotions in the room, people are in different places in their hearts and minds when they think about our transition and journey forward. I had a few tears as we were blessing our communion table, mostly because I was looking into the eyes of others who were crying. I am excited about the future.

I had to stop by the old building to pick up some things from the nursery. No one else as there. Most things we are taking are already gone. It was a little bit of a shock, a punch to the gut. But, it will always feel like home. In some ways at least. It’s just like good friends you haven’t seen in a while–you always pick back up where you left off. Except in this case our ministry continues–just in a new locale.

So I knew I’d want some sort of memory of the place. I didn’t take one yesterday, so I got a selfie this morning.

It’s perfect and will help me remember. A song from Sunset Boulevard has been running through my head all day. Our show choir sang it one year (with slight alterations).

I don’t know why I’m frightened, I know my way around here, The cardboard trees, the painted seas, the sound here. Yes, a world to rediscover, But I’m not in any hurry, And I need a moment. The whispered conversations In overcrowded hallways. The atmosphere is thrilling here as always. Feel the early morning madness. Feel the magic in the making. Why, everything’s as if we never said goodbye. And this time will be bigger. And brighter than we knew it, So watch me fly, we all know I can do it.

It’s a reminder to me that the important pieces of who we are have not been lost. We are strong, we are resilient, we are community. And I believe that is enough. So it was very humbling and inspiring to have our new signage greet me first thing this morning on our office building and door. Because this is who we are and where we are and the present and the future are bright.

It’s Gonna Be May..

I’m all about the song titles I guess. I really meant to post this last night, but I couldn’t finish it. It felt overwhelming and too much. And so, well, I put it off.


I’ve been bombarded by the title phrase above, and the associated GIFs and Memes. It is indeed about to be May: with that comes a lot of emotions.

May is filled with flowers and cards and commercials and pictures and gifts: Mother’s Day. This is year two. The first Mother’s Day was way too quick. But the mention of the holiday still takes my breath away. It stifles my conversations and makes my eyes fill with tears. I don’t like talking about it because I don’t like having to say “my mother is gone, has passed, is no longer with us”. None of those phrases really capture what is. Because she is still her, just not the same way. Her physical presence may have passed but her spirit is still alive and well. She is always and will always be with us.

I sense that Mother’s Day may always put a lump in my throat. It will always beriberi with emotion, at least until I have kids of my own (which is not in the near future). And then it will just be full of a different emotion. I’ll think about giving her flowers every year because it was tradition, it was our special thing. And I don’t think I ever have her anything else. I’ll think about cooking for her or taking her to lunch after church. It’s the little things. The things that make me pause, and smile. The things that sometimes make a tear run down my face. Wonderful memories through the emotions. These memories are still deeply imprinted on my heart. And I’m thankful for each and everyone.

Je t’aime, maman. Tu es mon joli papillon, toujours.

PG-18

The phone rang. I knew the number, I knew what the conversation would be about. And instead of instantly sending it to voicemail I merely silenced it this time. And then a switch flipped in my brain and I said, “what the hell, I’ll answer it”. And I did. “Hello, this is ___________ from Ohio Wesleyan, how are you this evening?” And so it began.

I have a love/hate relationship with my alma mater. Okay, really it’s love-80/hate-20 relationship. I met some of my best friends there, learned a lot about who I am, and cultivated my outlook on life. I have wonderful (memorable) stories, and memorable (not so wonderful) stories. But OWU holds more than just my college days, it holds a part of my career start. My first full time gig, even though I knew it was temporary. And those memories and lessons are priceless in their own way.

But back to this phone call. I knew it would be about money. I can identify the call source by the phone number. The first 6 digits denote an OWU number. The last four numbers show the specific office. -2024. That’s the call center. I used to work the call center as a student, on the Admissions/Recruiting side. But, as I am not currently a prospective student (nor am I supporting a prospective student) I knew it would be the annual giving side.

I have an agreement with myself that I won’t give to my alma mater. Nothing against the institution, I have made it a point that until I pay off my student loans (really, it’s paying off the cost of attending The ‘Wu) I won’t give financially to them. I’ve given back to the community in other ways: helped with Admissions events in Indy, called families of prospective students, sent supplies to my sorority for recruitment. But money won’t happen until my student loans are at zero.


That was until this college sophomore started talking to me. He was a quick speaker, so I didn’t catch his name. But I can tell you they trained him well. He connected with me on our interest in religion and passion for Youth Ministry. “This won’t work,” I thought. “He won’t rope me in”. And then he had the nerve to say, “I’m actually in a religion class right now, I wonder if you ever had this professor…” I doubt it. There can’t be many of the same professors. “It’s a class on Ethics with..” <beat> “…Dr. Twesigye.” Dammit. How did this kid know that would seal the deal?


Dr. Emmanuel Twesigye is one of the most unique (that’s putting it lightly) professors I have ever had. Short in stature, big in social and moral compass. Forced to flee Uganda during the reign of Idi Amin, he is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, though you may just write him off as a crazed evangelist from first glance.

What I learned in his classes had little to do with reference material or scholarly works. But it had everything to do with digging deeper, questioning, debating, and looking at different points of view. Sometimes, there were cultural barriers in the way he taught. Often times he made me laugh without meaning to be funny. But he made me think in ways that were counter to my everyday thought processes. And that is something that is priceless.


Some of my favorite Twesigye memories include the following:

“Why do you think Babe thought about commuting suicide?” Definitely not something I had ever thought about when watching Babe. But now it’s something I’ll never forget.

“Oh, you are drinking Passion Tea! Does it give you passion.” I have never seen Sam Chesser and Greylyn Hydinger laugh as hard as I did in this moment.

“Oh, PG-18..” well, you see there is PG-13 and NC-17 but…well never mind.

His love for Tillich will always be the source of my connection to Tillich.

When we impersonated our Religion Professors for the Religion Department t-shirts I knew there was only one person I could be. I make a pretty good white, female Twesigye. I have the shirt to prove it.


Long story short, I told that sophomore student to send me a link so I could make a donation online. I am breaking my rule, but Twesigye is worth it.

Where’s the Calm

My life this next week or so feels like it is coming on too quickly. The 18th will mark one year since my mom passed. And every part of me is rejecting that notion. They say (don’t ask me who they is) that there is a calm before the storm. But I don’t think there’s the same occurrence in the storms of our life.

Part of me worries that I’m not thinking of her as often as I should be. That she’d be upset or sad by the fact that she’s not omnipresent in my mind. That she is having major FOMO right now. But then Shelly and I watch a tv show or movie and there is a character whose mom is sick or dying or already gone. And we sit there in shock. Let me tell you, there are lots of tv shows and movies like this. You don’t realize it until its something your body can’t help but respond to.

It sure feels like there is already a storm raging inside of me. And I know it will only get more intense as the week moves on. But I am hopeful: hopeful that I am making her proud, hopeful that she is happy, hopeful that this will just be a part of my growth on the journey.

And then I feel her presence and know I don’t have to hope, because all of those things are true.

Nerding Out

Today is one of my very favorite holidays ever. Mardi Gras. As a kid I used to wear super crazy outfits to school in some combo of green, purple, and gold. Today I found an adult, work appropriate version 😍 I didn’t get to have pancakes or dance to wonderful big band/jazz from the Naptown Strutters–but I thought about many of those childhood memories today.

Growing up our church always had a Mardi Gras Party. Staff made a pancake breakfast-for-dinner, there were prizes and treats, and dancing. Lots of dancing. I always miss the Hansels leading us in a jelly roll, or playing “pass the broom”. But what I miss even more is instigating and taking the lead on those things once they moved away.

Tomorrow marks the start of Lent. And in addition to the photo-a-day challenge with my youth, I’m going to blog everyday. They will be more devotion-like than most of my posts. But I’m excited for the challenge.