Thursday, May 30, 2013

Off to Taize!!

I leave tomorrow for the first adventure in what will most likely be the most amazing year of my life.  This part of the journey, however, started almost 4 years ago.  I had recently graduated from the University of Wyoming and was home for the summer and beginning to look at what my life was turning into.  I had idealistic dreams of what my life was going to look like, but knew that I had steps to take to get there.

I received a message from the Christian Education Director at church about a new program they were planning on starting with our middle school students.  It was a program I was not unfamiliar with, but they were having a meeting in hopes of finding a couple of mentors to lead the first group.  After the meeting, I knew that if I didn't take on this project, I would be mad at myself. 

In the fall, I began working with what I discovered was an incredible group of 6th and 7th grade students.  I quickly began to think of them as my kids and we grew together for the next two years.  We talked about some deep things and it was fun to watch their insights develop as they grew beyond childhood.   I don't think they will ever really know how much I got from them and can only hope that they got half as much from me! 

When our 2 years were over, I was sad to let them go, but excited to share them with others who would get to know the amazing people I already knew.  Since then, I have watched them turn into wonderful, responsible young adults with the help of Mary and Ernie, their current mentors.  You know those kids that are just "neat kids?"  That's them!  They are really more mature than I was at their age.  For this reason, I was honored to be invited, by them, to join them and their current mentors on their pilgrimage this summer.

So, tomorrow morning, at 5:30 (ugh!) we are beginning our pilgrimage at the airport here in Cody.  Our journey will take us to Paris, France for a day to do some sightseeing, then we will be traveling to the community of Taize for one week.  We will return to Paris next Saturday, then fly for home on Sunday and return changed for the better to our families on Monday. 

From their website:
From its beginning the community has been inspired by two aims: to live in communion with God through prayer and to be a leaven of peace and trust in the midst of the human family.
A stay at Taizé is an opportunity to seek communion with God in prayer, singing, silence and reflection. It can be possible to rediscover an inner peace, a meaning to life and a new impetus.
Experiencing a simple life shared with others reminds us that daily life is the place where Christ is waiting for us.
Some young people are looking for ways of following Christ with their whole lives. A stay in Taizé can help discern this call.
- Each day, brothers of the community introduce a Bible reflection, followed by a time of silence and sharing in small groups.
- In the afternoon, workshops help to deepen the relationship between faith and life in the areas of work, social questions, art and culture, the search for world peace....
- Young adults who wish can spend the week or the weekend in silence, to take time to listen to how God speaks to them in prayer, in the Bible or through the events of their life.

If you want to find out more about Taize, click here

I am looking forward to this opportunity to begin my year of transition.  For most people, a trip like this would be the highlight of their year, rather than the start of an incredible year-long experience.  I am really blessed to get to experience this with an amazing group of people!  I don't have the words to express my gratitude to my congregation and to the families who are trusting me and the other two adults with their kids. 


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