Crabby camels, a star, and me

Following the star that leads us to our calling is no small task. This pregnant image was pressed into my imagination by a friend who knows my journey and is so full of spirit and wisdom. I think she knew this image would resonate with me. So, I have been contemplating the journey of the Magi, the astronomers, as it is told regarding their trip to find Jesus.

And frankly, my life the last several years is a little like the story of the Magi journeying through the desert. It’s such a romantic sounding journey until you think about spending 3 years in the desert following a star.

I imagine fatigue, extreme temperatures, hunger, sand storms, the pursuit of water … no wonder it took 3 years to get there. I doubt it was a particularly pleasant endeavor. At least they had companionship with each other, though God only knows how many “are we there yets” were moaned in the wee hours of the morning.

camelAnd they had camels. For some reason, it comforts me to no end that much artwork about the Magi has a camel or 2 or 3 in it. It makes me chuckle to imagine these “wise guys” galumping through the desert with crabby camels. They are tough creatures. A camel and 3 reindeer visit a local nursery every December and I have experienced her crabbiness in the form of spitting. And let me tell you, those lovely, large, soft lips are especially helpful when it comes to hocking a big one across a Santa’s holding pen. They don’t have particularly pleasing voices, either.

This is such a poignant image for my life.

Much of my life the past few years has been about discovering, exploring, and furthering my calling. I have been working at an amazing church as the Director of Young People’s Ministries. It is full of prophetic, wise, generous, self-sacrificing people who want to be a difference in this world. It is a joy to be with these families and these young people as they grow up.

Coinciding with this great community piece, I have been deepening my education and experience in nonviolence and peace education. I have been involved in movements, conferences, and writing for peace. And, I have been writing music and performing with some fantastic musicians. Wow, it’s been great! Full, deepening, joyful.

And all of this while raising my two beautiful girls, who are really thoughtful, gracious young women. I am so blessed!

One thing has become clear. I feel called to some combination of peace, anti-violence, multi-cultural, music, spiritual, writing life. Sure, I have been doing this partly for many years, but it has not been a walking on water experience. Or even a walk in the proverbial park.

If I could hang around in my own peace-loving world, that would be one thing. But the thing is: if you are called to a peace and anti-violence journey, it requires being in the middle of some major conflict. It also means spending some serious time looking for the right creeks and wells from which to drink. And there are spooky sounds in the night. And one could wake up and find a scorpion in your shoe. What’s worse, you might run out of coffee!IMG_1647

All of these have happened to me over the past few years: conflict … painful relationships … misunderstanding. And there have been some crabby camels to boot. I have walked until my whole body ached with insufficient water. I have wondered if I will ever reach the child I claim to follow.

But, I have also slept out under the stars. I have stayed up far into the night talking philosophy, theology and meaning making. I have bound up some awfully sore blisters of my fellow travelers. It is a tremendous journey. I am so grateful you are in it with me.

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