This past week or so I’ve been pulling the small pieces of my life together to make something cohesive. All the obvious, omni-present aspects of adult life come to the forefront of my mind multiple times per day. I’ve never lived alone before, so there’s a whole laundry list (ba dum tss) of daily requirements to get used to. Opening the windows in the morning, closing them for rain, shopping for food for the week, making sure I eat perishable food in a timely manner, cooking dinner, washing dishes, checking the door is locked for the night and turning off all the lights in the apartment each day feels very conspicuous in the pattern of my life currently. Of course, I’ve done all these tasks before, but it feels strange and new to have it always be my responsibility, but even more strange to have no one to notice if it doesn’t get done. There is a sense of relief to this, in that I only have myself to satisfy with my habits, but the weight of the burden feels heavier than it should as I become accustomed to it. It’s not distressing, or making me unhappy. It’s just surprisingly notable to me, given the ordinariness of the tasks.
Less surprisingly at the forefront of my mind is the beginning of my ministry here. I’ve started going to the church during the week for meetings to make sure Father Clayton (FC), Jabu (the other youth coordinator at SMAA) and I are all on the same page about what the youth program should look like. I was really happy and relieved to find that we shared many of the same goals, and have been feeling really inspired and excited about what we’re going to be doing with this ministry. That said, after having those opening meetings, now I actually have to plan and run events and meetings as early as Sunday. Not only that, but I am starting to plan as far out as 6+ months from now, trying to put together the scaffolding of the year in place. Between the immediate demands for planning, and trying to plan further into the future, my mind has spent a lot of time running in overdrive. So many elements are completely new to me, and many elements of the program will be completely new to the youth. We’ll both be jumping into unknown newness, trying out different ideas, hoping they work and readjusting when they don’t. It’s a dizzying mix of excitement and fear.
So, the start to my ministry here has been like most beginnings, seemingly sudden despite extensive preparation, and unfamiliar, which naturally leads to some sense of discomfort. Oxymoronically, I’m quite familiar with this type of unfamiliarity. I absolutely relish the excitement of new challenges and opportunities. The experience of finding something strange and new that feels unnatural to me and making it feel natural and normal in my life is so rewarding, which is why I’m constantly seeking it out. This familiarity with unfamiliarity means the discomfort I feel is not intimidating for me, and I know that just past the discomfort there are rewards that are well worth the effort.