So, I am 25 now. Last year’s birthday was a strange one because for the first time in my life I worried about how fast time goes, how I am getting older, and how 21,22,23 etc were such amazing years. I got over the “I hate getting older” phase by creating a new moto: get old or die. Because realistically those are the only two choices we have.
My 25th birthday was incredible. I was armed with my new positive attitude and surrounded by some of my favourite people in New York City. GAHHH…a birthday in NYC is pretty incredible in itself. Matt surprised me by taking me to two AMAZING used book stores in NYC. The picture above is of me in Strand- a HUGE used bookstore with over 16 miles of books (apparently-who actually ever measures that?!) We also went to a really cool bookstore called Housing Works, which is run almost entirely by volunteers and the proceeds go towards helping people with HIV/AIDS find adequate housing.
I got this book called ” Faith and Feminism” (a perfect title for me…) and I read 30 pages of it in Central Park. I came across concept in the book that I have been thinking about a lot lately, albeit using different terminology. One of my best friends is a process-er. She’s incredibly thoughtful (both in thinking of others and thinking deeply about the world around her). I have learned that her initial reaction to a problem, conflict or even a great thing might not be the same as her final conclusion. The idea of processing our thoughts and emotions sort of goes along with the idea of the “journey” – not always a bee-line to the destination, but rather a process or flow, not unlike that of a curving river. The idea of processing or “journeying” is about learning. It’s about giving yourself and your mind time to come to a peaceful and well thought out decision or perspective. In a time where everything is instantaneous and crackberrys connect most people to the world 24/7, the idea of slowing down and really giving ourselves time to question, reflect and talk about the way we think about things or the way we view the world is pretty radical.
All to often I want thins to happen instantly. I want to change myself. I want to get better at things. I want to have a perfect job. I want to finish my degree. Living this way we lose out not only in living in the moment, but also from the profound sense of peace, wisdom and knowledge that goes along with taking things slow, moment by moment. I have written about waiting before. And now I am learning about the process of becoming.
In the book I was telling you about early “Faith and Feminism” the author gives the biography of five powerful feminists who were all women of faith: St. Teresa of Avila, Lucretia Mott, Soujourner Truth, Emily Dickenson and Dorothy Day. In her introduction, the author captured my attention with one simple line: “There is a sweep of grace that moves these holy women from believing, to voicing, to doing, to being.”
Believe. Voice. Do. Be.
It’s about a process of becoming. I can’t tell you the number of times that I am frustrated about the way the world is. The structures that are in place that simply reinforce and exacerbate existing divisions, racism, hate and violence. I get incredibly frustrated at myself about how much I believe and voice these opinions and how little I actually do to make a difference. This list: believe, voice, do, be- has given me immense hope. Perhaps it is about a journey- a process that leads to becoming. For instance. I believe in peace and nonviolent means of conflict resolution. I have begun to voice this in my own academic work and with friends who care to join in the discussion. I want to start to DO things or take actions that flow out of my beliefs and the words I use to express those beliefs. The same goes with love. I believe in love, I voice that love wins, I try to act in ways that express love to those around me- but eventually, I want to get to a place where I simply personify love (not in the way of Christ or God, but in the best way that I can). I want love to flow so naturally out of me, that I am love.
Believe. Voice. Do. Be
I am going to remember my friend and how she patiently processes through things. I am going to remember to appreciate and learn from the process- whatever it may be- from paper writing, to job hunting, to soccer, to relationships. At every point along the proverbial road there is a lesson to be learned and beauty to be found. Growth, learning and unlearning are all beautiful and meaningful in themselves alone. And while I sometime view progression as an ugly concept, I am going to try to become all of the things that I think that I am called to be and can be. BUT- rather than hoping to instantly become something, or someone or a superstar ultimate frisbee player, I am going to just keep “pressing on” towards those goals, going through the process, the journey, the road, the race, the steps, whatever you want to call it.