All Things New

Sunday, April 24, 2016

It was both nothing and everything.

It was nothing because, if you were to ask me what I would expect one of the most memorable moments of my life to be, I wouldn’t necessarily jump right to sitting on the curb in a dark parking lot, under the glow of a streetlamp, chomping on an Italian flatbread sandwich alongside two friends.  Of the throng that had filled the lot two and a half hours earlier, we were the only stragglers remaining, save for those staffing the food trucks, whom we watched as they set about washing dishes.  They moved with such efficiency as they cleaned up for the night that I briefly wondered if this was how Santa’s elves occupied their time the other eleven months of the year.  On the whole, it was a bustling yet insignificant scene.

But something extraordinary was also unfolding there.  As a girl who’d spent eight months yearning for community in my new home, in that moment I could finally see I’d begun to really find it.  

Though I’ve long been a fan of saying, “The best is yet to come,” if I’m being honest, in the past year since graduating, I’ve spent a decent amount of time wondering if some of the best has already come to pass — in daily dinners in the dining hall and lunches overlooking the bay with a ubiquitous network of friends, movie and game nights with the same loyal group, in laughter and song and prayer at weekly choir practices.  The four years I spent in college were a magical time for me in terms of building community, but I think I’ve dwelled too much on the loss of that, and I’ve been hesitant to open my heart to new beginnings.  Even in interactions with new friends since arriving here in Colorado, there’s been a part of me that’s been so intent on comparing emerging experiences with old ones, as though doing so could help me bring that time back, and could erase the discomfort of starting over by giving me something familiar to cling to. 

But to spend any moment wishing for another is a waste of the beauty inherent in the now.  That moment in the parking lot with my new friends as the food trucks packed up was special because, in our laughter, in our discussion, we were making something new.  The most recent in a string of new movie nights and game nights and lunches and dinners with different individuals, this moment symbolized the basis of a new community.  It looks different from my college one, and that’s okay.  I don't want to replace it or compare it, because this is something different.  And it’s supposed to be.

I just want to rest with the confident assuredness that, as God promises in today’s second reading, “[He] make[s] all things new” (Revelation 21:5, NAB) — that optimism and hope are the Christian way of life, and that what we perceive to be endings are, in fact, beautiful new beginnings.  

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