November Newsletter

The house we’re living in in Englewood is rather lovely.  It’s an old, townhouse-style brick building. Our team inhabits the first floor and the basement, with an amazing older couple who goes to our church living on the second floor.  Our first floor has the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, our leader’s room, the girls’ room, and the boys’ room.  The basement is, more of less, our (Adam and Kristin’s) space. When we first moved in, we had a pile of furniture and a handful of little pictures and things to put up on walls and in corners to make the house feel homey. Because six out of eight of us lives on the first floor, and we were planning on hosting people in the living room and dining room, we put almost all of our decorations and things on the first floor.

Very quickly, we both found ourselves being a little weirded out by the stark, white walls of our living space downstairs. I in particular, was not only weirded out, but very negatively affected, to an extent that was rather unexpected. Partially as a reaction to that, I was  pushed into a frenzy of creativity and the pursuit of beauty and art. I  began teaching myself piano,  drawing, Spanish, and Swahili. In the completely foreign context of “the hood” in Chicago where beauty was, at the time, not easy to see, this is how I was seeking that beauty.

A spot of beauty in the middle of Chicago
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “beauty is God’s handwriting,” and that “a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.”  In my experience, with beauty comes hope, love, peace, and connection to God.  For me personally, it is often difficult for me to connect with others if I do not first have these other valuable things in my life.

In the past few months, this outpouring of creativity has also been born from a desire for freedom.  My life within Mission Year is restricted and not at all autonomous. I have been stripped of any authority over my time, my relationships, my money. I’m being stripped of my gifts, my abilities, and my knowledge by rendering all that useless by the complete disregard of anything and almost everything I have come to regard as something that makes me me.

One day, I walked over to our church to see if it was open in hopes that I could practice some piano. After walking the six blocks or so, I found it was locked and so turned right back around to go back home.  On my way home, some neighbors were hanging out on their front porch and one of my friends on the porch called out, asking where I went. I told him that I was hoping to play piano, but with no luck. Teasing, he joked that I would have to forget piano and “get myself a bucket” to drum on, like the buskers that abound on street corners, because “you livin’ in the ‘Wood’ now.”  A woman who was on the porch with him whom I had never met before looked annoyed at my friend and cut him off to tell me otherwise.  “Don’t you listen to him, babygirl! You keep playing your piano music, and play it beautifully! Be a light of beauty to the world, we need more of that!” I continued home with more of a spring in my step.

Within the centering of creativity, I have been able to, on some level, return to feeling “myself”. Even if it’s just for the few fleeting minutes that I am actively and freely engaging in playing piano, learning Spanish or English, writing creatively, or trying to draw. In the return to feeling like I am myself again, I also find that these are the all-too-brief moments where I feel truly connected to God once again.

Advertisements

One thought on “November Newsletter

  1. Kristin, Thank you very much for sending. It is hard for me missing you so very much. However I know in my heart you will prevail in your dreams and aspirations. With Love always and for ever. Daddy

    On Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 9:12 AM, Bind My Wandering Heart to Thee wrote:

    > Kristin posted: ” The house we’re living in in Englewood is rather > lovely. It’s an old, townhouse-style brick building. Our team inhabits the > first floor and the basement, with an amazing older couple who goes to our > church living on the second floor. Our first fl” >

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s