Sustained, Am I

Our lives are stories. Here's mine.

If only the will to walk is really there, He is pleased even with their stumbles.

—C.S. Lewis

I don’t know about you, but I never imagined my adult life to look this way. I go to my Monday through Friday job where I get to wear jeans and tell people how to be good parents. My savings account goes toward replacing car parts and emergency dog surgery for a mysterious puncture wound discovered late at night. (Speaking of dogs, I recently learned how awkward it is when my dog diarrheas in the dog park.) It’s hard to find time to read for fun and I start everyday with a cup of coffee. Relationships are messy and I’m still very much trying to figure out who I am.

There’s nothing sexy about adulthood, I’m learning. Graduating college doesn’t mean you are anymore sure of yourself. In fact, You may even realize that you are messier and more like your parents than you ever imagined. You know the world is broken. You have more responsibility than ever and probably feel more incompetent than ever too. You’re a little less naive than you used to be, and maybe a little more cynical than you’d hoped. You realize that you’re in a constant and uncomfortable place of “becoming.”

It’s hard for me to trust God and be patient with myself in my “young adulthood”. I want to be good enough, kind enough, articulate enough. I’m realizing that I will never be a finished product and I’m trying to learn to be okay with that. Because ultimately, this story is not about me. And I’m thankful to God for that.

"My current lifestyle doesn’t allow for idleness. I’m the busiest I’ve ever been. But I do things on my own terms, I do what I believe is right, not what’s expected of me. I don’t have an allocated lunch break, instead I’m free to eat when I’m hungry. I sleep when I’m tired, and I fill my days with tasks that need to be done, each task either contributing to food stores or homes comforts i.e. firewood collecting or cleaning. My greatest achievements are seemingly diminutive. A good crop of beans, a basket of found chestnuts and a cap filled with the first wild mushrooms of autumn. Food is such an integral part of all of our lives, and when you start to play a significant role in its preparation you can taste the result. My food is simple. It is made by hand. It’s grown. It’s hunted and it’s fished. When I look at a dish it has traces of effort layered all over it. The mushrooms I picked, the sourdough bread I made, the garlic and thyme I grew."


It is the great peril of our society that all its mechanisms may grow more fixed while its spirit grows more fickle. A man’s minor actions and arrangements ought to be free, flexible, creative; the things that should be unchangeable are his principles, his ideals. But with us the reverse is true; our views change constantly; but our lunch does not change.

—G. K. Chesterton; Lying on a Bed

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me… I was set free because my greatest fear was realized and I was still alive and I still had a daughter whom I adored and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. So rock bottom became a solid foundation for which I rebuilt my life. You might never fail on the scale that I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you never fail at all, in which case, you fail by default.

—JK Rowling

What a difference from last night. I flew into New York and checked into a single room in a hotel literally a block from Time Square. I walked all over Manhattan waiting for my assignment. Now I’m laying in a cot in a Long Island high school. It’s 10pm. Peop le are snorting, there’s rustling and muffled voices. Men and women. It’s a humbling thing to sleep in a shelter, even a staff shelter. But it’s great.

This is my job. In the morning I’ll get up and work the shelter for 12 hours. I have no idea what to expect. People look scared for me when I tell them my assignment. There’s a chance I’ll drive around one of those box trucks with food. I may even get to drive our emergency response vehicle back to Arizona. Who knows. Either way, I’m grateful to be here, to get to serve others for work. That’s all for now.

The pursuit of normality is the ultimate sacrifice of potential.

—Faith Jegede

This week at work

I was dreading this week. but it’s actually been quite fantastic. Not fantastic is that a lot of great things happened— Actually, I’ve met people in the midst of really hard times. I’ve been able to see how our work helps people and how the community appreciates the Red Cross.

On Sunday, we opened a shelter because of an apartment fire. I went to work on my day off (willingling) and helped families who lost their homes. This was my first shelter experience.

On Monday, they expressed their gratitude in both words and smiles. Several families spoke little to no English.

Today, I got to sit in a tracing case. A refugee from Sudan told us his story so that we might be able to locate his father and mother. He was separated from them 8 years ago.

Also, I’m officially trained to respond to local disasters. We’ll see how the on-call life style goes. The unpredicatablity should be worth it. It’s in these times of crisis I can see humanity, compassion, and hope.

So tomorrow, I’ll go in and do a grueling eight and a half hours of casework and remember why I am there.


Ipanema, Brazil
Photograph by Giovani Cordioli, My ShotBrazilian capoeira is a traditional dance with amazing fight steps originating from slavery.


Ipanema, Brazil
Photograph by Giovani Cordioli, My Shot
Brazilian capoeira is a traditional dance with amazing fight steps originating from slavery.