It doesn’t feel like New Years’ Eve. I spent my day cleaning classrooms: washed chalk dust off of boards, vacuumed up crumbs, and wiped nose smudges off glass.
But feelings don’t halt the year’s departure. 2015 was, for me, a year in Chicago. I left the city for Canada three times: saw half my family off to Africa during Spring break, spent 9 delightful days in Western Canada, and this past semester took a long weekend to go back to Ontario and see good friends and my Grandma.
The rest of the time was spent between skyscrapers, in classrooms, and on sidewalks. With a childhood of dirt and bare feet, it’s depressing to consider all the cumulative concrete I’ve seen this year. All the sirens I’ve heard. Before, I knew I didn’t like the thought of city-living. Now, I know that I don’t like the fact of it either.
But there have been surprising and beautiful moments among the concrete blocks. I found a lake, a church of African immigrants that took a delightful hour-and-twenty to bike to, I found storybookish old houses with ivy crawling over them, and best of all — I found some of the most amazing young people I have yet met. I have been blessed, humbled, and challenged again and again to brush against so many talented and passionate Christian young people at Moody. They have made my year beautiful, and I can’t wait to see the impact they have across the globe in coming years.
I found other things too…the confidence to tell classmates that I’m a writer, and the freedom to experiment in visual mediums. I got a bit further along a search I didn’t know I was on: trying to understand what place a dreamer and a creative like me has in the kingdom of God.
I found Kesher – a Jewish student group – and the beauty of the stories I’ve grown up hearing, told again by a Messianic believer who can draw on the riches of a history that goes back thousands of years.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/147905830″>The Peace of Jerusalem</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user9125677″>Core Tools: Images and Words</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
I found, once again, that it is impossible to do all I want to. But I found a dear friend, who brought the prayers of the Northumbrian community, and there I pray for God to bless the servant I am, and the servant I will be.
It has been a good year, but I am so ready for tomorrow to come. Next week, I fly to the Pearl of Africa. Last week, coming back from the suburbs on Amtrak, the repeated warning, “Caution – doors are now closing,” seemed pertinent. Caution, doors are now closing, and there isn’t much longer in the in-between stage. Doors are now closing – and I will be on the other side. Moody will move along without me. My story has run alongside those of my friends here for some time, but now it diverges. Doors are now closing.
This year in Chicago has made me skittish and antsy. I need to feel some real dirt and some real sun. I need to go home, to learn again from the people of Africa.
2016, I am so ready for adventure.