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dance of life.

I won't turn left and I won't turn right
I will not stray from the path that's right

But I'll keep on singing and I'll keep on reaching

And I'll follow, follow, follow Jesus Christ

If you know me at all, you know I don't like to dance. Don't ask me why, I don't know. I was not one of those kids who took dance lesson after dance lesson. It never really amazed or intrigued me. Someone once told me that I would find my "dance" in college. That has now come and gone and I still haven't found said "dance."

A couple of weeks ago they sang this song at church. I'm fairly certain that it is from a Vacation Bible School somewhere but it was easy enough for them to learn in English, so they did. I didn't mind, I was happy to be able to read the words to a song.

This song immediately stuck with me. Not just because of the English words but because of the dance, too. Nearly every song we sing at church has a dance that goes with it. It always make me slightly uncomfortable because they always ask me to dance along with them, joining in the sometimes crazy motions. And I haven't quite found my ability to look like a complete fool yet.

But, ever since I learned this song, I've been doing the motions--dancing--frequently. The song is so joyful for me because I feel connected to everyone at church as I join in with them. I am able to take part in something that expresses their love for God and in turn am able to praise Him too.

As I am bursting at the seems with joy, already saddened at the thought of leaving Mongolia, I remember the beginning. I remember how scared I was and how hard it was to be here. I remember everything being such a challenge. I remember tears and I remember sorrow.

I remember those days and I realize that I don't have to stay in the sorrow, I can keep on singing. I also realize that even that connects me with my Mongolian brothers and sisters. I was reminded the other day of something really beautiful about so many people from around the world. So many people are joyful, faithful and grateful even when they often don't have much reason to be. Their joy, faith and gratefulness come from somewhere deeper. A place of simplicity and appreciation for every breath.

That reminder along with with some other reminders from a book I recently started reading I have been awakened again to the reality that joy and sorrow exist together. Neither one should cast shadows over the other. In our joy we remember sorrow for the closeness to God that it brought. And in our sorrow we are pointed to something greater, something joyful. Both give us cause to celebrate the One who is the giver of it all.

"Jesus shows, both in his readings and in his life, that true joy often is hidden in the midst of our sorrow, and that the dance of life finds its beginnings in grief." Henri Nouwen: Here and Now, page 47

I would not call my beginnings in Mongolia grievous but I would call the dance I'm finding to be the dance of life. I am joyfully remembering my sorrow.

I'll keep on singing and I'll keep on dancing.

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An ode to my wiser self

I've been thinking about blogging a lot lately. Well, writing, rather. I used to write a lot. It was therapeutic and life giving for me. It helped me to be in a constant state of process where I was not just taking in life but searching for and digging for meaning. It kept me grounded and real, for lack of better word.

I have been starting to write more lately and have several little bits I'm working on. In the process of digging out my blog from the depths of the internet, I found this jewel that I wrote years ago. Yes, that's right... years ago. I thought it was beautiful and worth sharing. So, in an attempt to revive this way of sharing my thoughts and processing...

Here is an ode to my younger (and probably wiser) self:


Welcome to The Chronicles of a Confused Citizen.

Here I am, residing in the country I was born in, living the life I knew from my birth to year 22.

It doesn't quite feel right, though.

Recently, as I found myself living in Mongolia, I started feelin…

bring it on, world.

October 26, 2011.

That is the day I last wrote a blog. That's not the day when my life changed but it is a day that I can recognize as one of the last ones when I knew who I was and what my purpose was.

I'm not generally a quitter. Sure, sometimes I quit on books or I quit on small projects but in life, nope. I  try hard at most things, usually right until the end. I won't say that quitting is not a thought that meanders through my being when something gets tough but I have come to learn that when I stick things out I come out having learned a thing or two.

But I did quit. I quit a big commitment. I said I would live in Washington, DC and I would do my best.

I tried. I also had my very first panic attack, too.

It was too much. I couldn't think or breathe. I couldn't cope with the devastation I felt for leaving Mongolia early that March morning. I couldn't cope with no one understanding what Mongolia had meant to me and how it had changed me right down to my bo…