Tag Archives: Long term

or forever hold your peace.

Yes, hold onto peace with everything you got, even if you have to fight for it.

In a world where salt is a side dish and fish and chips go without ketchup and tartar sauce, something new emerges…

When I first went to college, I said I was never going to study abroad.  I can remember deliberately tuning out every time the questions in a admissions Q&A turned again to foreign studies programs and telling myself how exciting it would be to go to the same school with the same people for a whole four years.

Man, that’s changed.

It was so random that I ended up here.  I know how I want to spend my retirement, where I want to work, what I want to name my kids, where I want to go to law school, and I’ve been planning my thesis since freshman year, but I broke out old grammar textbooks to dust my mental cobwebs and write a 300 word Madrid application essay two days before it was due.

Coming into Wes, I wanted roots and stability.  I wanted all my close relationships to last.  In retrospect, I don’t think that’s even possible in college.  It violates the basic nature structure of the educational system.  Wes is 13 hours from home.  I get four months there, one month in Indiana, four months back at Wes, four more months wherever I so choose (so far, DC and NYC), and even if I hadn’t up and left this semester, my friends still would have.

Yes, I finally have those close relationships I wanted.  I know everyone in my net of people who would drop everything and run if I needed him or her, but knowing that your loved doesn’t mean the people that love you are always around, like, I don’t know, when you skip the pond and temporarily move to another country.

Life is transitory, and sure, someday, soon enough, I’ll find George Bailey and let him lasso the moon, have 2.2 kids, and live in the same place for fifty years, but before I get there, I’m going to see everything I can.

Because I think there is something special about short-term transitory relationships too.  I think about the hundreds of people I’ve met in my four-month-long homes and wonder about the impact I am having on them.  Is it even existent?  What will they remember?  These questions aren’t coming from a narcissistic point of view.  I’m just wondering if who I really am is reflected to everyone, and if it’s not, what’s wrong with me.

I want people to see Jesus in me, and not in a preachy Jaimie in a pink sweater kind of way, but in a way that shows that I care more about them than myself.  That’s a lot to live up to, and a lot to show when you only have a short time with someone.

If I’m serious about living for the good of other people thing, it really ought to be obvious.  Daily life doesn’t seem like that big of deal, until I think about it in a bigger picture.  I know a lot of people who have literally never interacted with a real Christian before, which means my freaking out about missing class because I mistakenly went to the wrong classroom and then not not knowing how to gracefully excusing myslef, sat stuck for and hour and half look a little out of perspective.  My every reaction ought to be reflection of Christ.

I’m around so many people who really don’t care about God or acknowledge His existence, and I totally get that, but in the very least, I want them all to see how I serve them because of what is happening in me because of Him.

So, I’ll grip every moment I have, knowing that the difference between short term and long term relationships, is that now, in the short term, I’m never going to get another chance.


Training for Someone Else’s Marathon

Because internships are only three months: My experience putting a system in place for someone ELSE to manage…

So I realized last night that I have exactly three weeks left in New York.  Three weeks to write every document I planned on having done by the end of the summer.  Three weeks to complete the mammoth database.  Three weeks to follow up with everyone I spoke with at General Conference and implement a contact system that is easy enough for Jeff to manage it once I’m gone (I ❤ and miss Raiser’s Edge).  Three weeks to put my masterful and mildly obsessive and detailed planning skills to work for someone else.

At this point, it still feels like I’ve done nothing, but I’m banking on it being the feeling you get before a test when all you can think about is everything you don’t know, instead of everything you do.

Up to this point its been all prep work, but now I’m to the point that I’m actually using the skills I’ve spent the last year and half studying and testing out on small scales .  Now, I’m actually doing development work, which is cool.  I think.  This is the first time I’ve used these skills for something that actually really counted for something with a long term goal in mind.

I am going to law school.

Last night, I took the Indiana team to the Getz’s for pizza and ice cream on the rooftop. They do this with every team.  It’s a way for his family to spend a little time with every group that comes and for them to hear about missional living in the city.  While they talked, I listened and stared out Jeff’s window at the Queensboro Bridge.  I didn’t mean to start praying, but it was just like I was quiet and God started talking, not like with words, but with peace, order, and sense.

Queensboro Bridge at sunset

For a long time law school has been a short answer to the question “what do you want to do with your life?”  It takes a enough time to explain to someone what the College of Social Studies is (my major).  If they listen to that, they usually don’t have the attention span for a 4 minute well-if-I-move-back-to-DC-I-might-do-this or I-know-what-I’m-skilled-and-passionate-about-but-not-sure-how-I’ll-be-using-them-yet speech.  So law school works, but it was more of a default then anything.

I know a few important things about law school.

1) It’s mighty pricey with little to no financial aid.

2) It requires a significant time commitment (before to study for the LSAT, during to graduate, after to pass the bar, and after to pay debt)

4) It will compromise time that I could spend building important business contacts that I could get if I just went for my Masters in Public Policy instead.

5) It will affect my relationships.  I will not have the time to build as many strong friendships, limit when I can see my family, and very likely delay when I will get married and have a family of my own.

But I know several other things too, more important than anything on the above list. My decision to go to law school has nothing to do with how many checks I have on a pros and cons list.  I only want to go if I can get in a top tier law school, but this has nothing to do with pride either.  I am fully capable of spending my whole life taking out the trash and cleaning restrooms in public schools.  To be honest, I think I would make a wonderful custodian.  I would do a good job and use it as a place to live out my faith missionally.  I don’t feel like going to fancy law school makes me any better or gives me the ability to influence any more people than a custodian or a bus driver has.  I just feel like law school is place where I will better be applying the specific talents and interests God’s given me.

It’s like this.  I have certain skill set.  I love reading old books on history, government, and political theory.  I love the CSS (College of Social Studies) set up- making my own arguments, defending them, and writing about them.  This year I am fellow in the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s undergraduate Honors Program, and I just received my first shipment of books.  It’s amazing.  It’s like doing CSS, but only with books that I love.

When I think about education and knowledge, I always think about that parable in Matthew 25.  It’s the one where the three servants receive a certain number of talents from a man.  The servants do different things with the talents, but the man who only received one buried it in the ground.  When the master came back, he was the only one that did not return more talents to his master than what he had originally been given.  His explanation?  “I was afraid.” (vs. 25).

This morning, I joined the team on the prayer walk around New York City. We go to various locations, discuss their significances and what they symbolize, and use that symbol to pray for the city.  The New York Public Library symbolizes knowledge.  There are a lot of intelligent people here, but very little wisdom.  I have the interest and ability to acquire the knowledge and bring Godly wisdom to places that would otherwise be inaccessible.

At the South Asian Community Center, they breach language barriers to reach people who otherwise would never come in contact with the Gospel.  I’m going to do that at law school.  I don’t imagine language will be an obstacle there, but there are mighty high barriers to entry.  I know I can cross those barriers, and once I’m there, I will let my approach to my studies glorify God.  I didn’t understand how to do that for a long time, but I think I figured it out this year.  I was stressed, very stressed, but I learned the difference between stress and fear and fear and worry.

I pray that this explanation doesn’t come across as a mere Christian platitude.  If you’ve heard me talk about law school, it might not even seem like a big deal, but it was, because now law school isn’t just something I’m thinking about.  It’s something I’m going to do, because it’s the place I’ve been called.


Feet on the Ground

Ah, getting settled…

My train arrived midday on Tuesday, and since then it has been an excellent mix of getting started, figuring things out, and getting lost.  I’ve been staying with Jeff (NYIC director) and his family, because the Brazilian Church that I’m living in this summer is currently being re-carpeted.  I’m suppose to be able to get into the room I will be staying in tonight, which will be nice.  I’ve been in the process of moving for about two weeks now, so it will be nice to finally fully unzip the suitcase and get comfortable for a while.

This summer is definitely going to be exciting and challenging.  A lot of the work I’m doing is focused on NYIC’s long term goals, which means I’m creating projects to do in the short term that we anticipate seeing the fruits from in 2-5 years.  This is great, but is most assuredly a new kind of experience.  Working on a project with few short term goals, is great, but it also means lots of planning to make sure the path you’re starting down is going to lead where you want it go.  I’ve only been working for a couple of days, but I have already gotten to the point several times where I need to really stop working and think about how the project I’m working on now will shape my work in month or two.  I’m finding myself in lots of situations where I really need to stop and pray, what’s next?  There are a thousand projects that would serve as excellent uses of my time, but a lot of them are really unformed, many to the point that even the first step is unclear.

Right now, I’m in the middle of creating a rather large database.  Think about it as a an address book that includes information on all your interactions with your contacts and includes an entire section on proactive ways to build relationships with people you are acquainted with, but don’t yet know very well.  I’m creating the structure and trying to anticipate what it will look like when it starts swelling with information.

Last night was my first time out exploring on my own– definitely an experience.  I’ve been to New York and small handful of times, but I’ve always had the advantage handicap of having someone show me around.  While walking around, I tried to related it to how I learned my way around DC last summer, but I don’t really think there is much comparison.  The sidewalks are much more crowded, everyone walks much faster, and everything is much bigger.  It’s very different.  That being said, it was still nice, although I will admit, it was nicer on the way back.  Finding my way back to my starting point after a couple of hours proved 1) Despite what my father says I really do have a sense of direction (love you dad) 2) I am beginning to learn my way around.

It will probably take a while to get fully settled, but I am getting my feet on the ground.