Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Up (and Down) the West Coast

Laughter isn't even the other side of tears. It is tears turned inside out. Truly the suffering is great, here on earth. We blunder along, shredded by our mistakes, bludgeoned by our faults. Not having a clue where the dark path leads us. But on the whole, we stumble along bravely, don't you think?
Alice Walker

November brought us all the way down the West Coast: from Seattle to Portland to Bend, OR to Sacramento to the Bay Area and into Orange County, CA. Our time has been dedicated to celebrating life with friends and family. Specifically, we danced to the music of the birth of yet another precious nephew, memorialized Tom's dad Dennis, one year after his sudden death, with a long hike down the Oso Creek Trail with Tom's Aunt Sandy, his mom Sue and her perra loca Sophie. We celebrated Thanksgiving with Lindsay's family and have had a plethora of meet-ups with so many beautiful people who have supported us on this Journey the past two years.

We are preparing our hearts, minds and bodies for the next stages of the Journey into 2017. On December 11, we will leave for a 50-day sabbatical at a writing retreat just outside of Portland. We will be reflecting on all that has happened in the past two years and working on a book project, in addition to some online articles. We plan on going to some counseling sessions and al-anon recovery meetings in the city--a great opportunity to keep learning more about our pain and undoing old patterns!

From Portland, we will move to Southern California for our first "residency" of 2017. Most of our time will be spent in the Ojai Valley, working closely with Ched Myers & Elaine Enns, the co-directors of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries. We also look forward to spending some time in Los Angeles with a few interesting experiments in Beloved Community!

Some of our recent highlights...

A throwback to Saskatoon in mid-October, the "Feminarians," a group of women that Lindsay is helping facilitate this year. This is the second year that BCM has offered a cohort to study a “hybrid” course (online and in person) that engages the dynamic "radical discipleship" theology and ethics of Elaine and Ched.

In Seattle, we had pizza with former Capo Valley Cougar cross country runner Mikaela Mulhull:

In Portland, we survived Halloween with the Nilsen-Goodins:

In Berkeley, we got a campus tour from Natalie Herberg (aka, "Herbie"), now a Political Econ major at Cal and getting ready to compete in the steeplechase:

In Upland, we attended the ordination of Sue Hur at Mountain View Mennonite Church:

In San Clemente, we spent time with Kyle & Courtney Rutenbar and their 4 beautiful children. Great to be re-united with 5 of our former roommates from The Manna & Mercy House...and to get to know their new(est) addition: Baby Mabel (not really a baby, as she is already keeping up with the big kids)!

...and (Surprise!), Beloved Detroiter Jyarland Daniels of Harriet Speaks (and fellow 1996 University of Kansas grad) took us out for Happy Hour in Laguna Hills (she was in town doing a diversity training at a local car dealership).

Tom wrote this little poem just a few hours after the birth of our brand new nephew: Mason Thomas Orr

Four full days after we got trumped
upside the head, dizzy spinning
confusion, weighing us down with the
dead weight of a scapegoat
infusion, she texted: “in labor.”

Four full days: only one day short of
a resurrection but it’s still the miracle of
new life, one more striving heart beating
for justice, living one day at a time is a
must, about to get raised up to never
say it’s about “just us,” another
nephew on the Way to bless us.
Introducing: Mason Thomas.

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