So, I’ve ended up where I never thought I’d be.
This should be the catch phrase of my life, honestly.
Here I am, recently graduated with a degree in philosophy – the only woman to graduate in the school of philosophy at my university, might I add #proud (though there were three other women studying philosophy with me in the other philosophy major program) – and I’m sitting at home. Living with my parents for the summer. Nagging my little brother to finish the dishes or Dad will have a fit. Even though I’m moving with my best friend in a few weeks, it feels as though if someone didn’t really know me, they’d just slot me into the philosophy-grad-stereotype. You know the one, where you have to go move back home because you’re unemployed and too broke to find a place just yet, still looking for jobs, etc. I have not yet had to get a job as a barista, but I’ll tell you what, I’m close, ha!
But I just found my old notes from ministry training this last year, and my gaze landed right on a quote from the “Our Father” that I felt the urge to write down one day…
“Our Father… deliver us from all evil and grant us peace in our day…”
Abba. Father. Grant us peace.
This sudden recollection of this moment from a year ago struck me like a dagger. I am not at peace. I’ve been trying to find it, believe me, but I struggle with it. I always have.
When I lived in the District I was caught up in the absolute insanity of student life, ministry, working on Capitol Hill, balancing jobs, friends, papers (more than a few late!) and a lot of different health problems that were sucking the life out of me. My only lifeline was prayer, and only through my own personal prayer and my holy friendships that were the most precious gifts these last months was I able to find peace.
But now I’ve been ripped from that environment, from my friends who are like family, from the environment in which I came to know my Father intimately, from the space in which I came to know Jesus as my friend, from the intoxicating excitement and rush of it all. And I’m back in my little hometown, seeing Him all around me, but trying to reach out to touch Him and just coming up short. And funnily enough, I think that’s where He wants me? Learning how to really reach for Him again in an environment that’s both home and hard for me. Because this is life.
We as a culture have gotten so used to the intoxication of comparison, of politics, of the realm within screens and social media, of who’s right and who’s wrong, of pointing fingers constantly, of finding our value in how busy we are or how much we get done. We as a culture are not at peace.
I was talking to my mom yesterday and she said, “ya know, Hannah, our culture is taking us straight to hell”, and in that moment I felt such resounding agreement, and also such defiant hope. We have reached a point in our culture where things that are purely of this world – things that are not really real – intoxicate us and we are attempting to find empowerment in our brokenness. This is a point and a place that is devoid of God’s presence, because we have pushed Him out. This is a point and a place that is the literal definition of hell.
But we as Church are called to remind ourselves and our brothers and sisters who we are, and to reach out from our brokenness and allow our Father to rip us out of this hell we have created for ourselves and give us life again. And you can bet your booty that it hurts. It’s uncomfortable. It can even feel lonely because we’ve confused constant stimulation with being present. But only once we allow his Son to teach us what is real, what real love is, what our real value is, and how to rest in Goodness and Beauty will we be at peace.
Friends, there is no empowerment in brokenness, only in reaching for Him out of our brokenness. There is no value or beauty in comparison or competition, only in resting in the Goodness and Gift around us. There is no peace until we find joy, and we only find joy when we find and live in the love of our Father.
And this is our purpose as Church.
Welcome to the new evangelization, friends.