Katie, the volunteer manager, and I drove three hours up to Duluth this morning to a pretty school called the College of St. Scholastica, for a volunteer fair.  For the past couple months she’s been rallying up soon-to-be college grads who are interested in committing to a year of service.  It was nice to be there and give a first person perspective on the program – even though we saw maybe three or four girls.  One of them was a coordinator herself and just wanted to learn more about other volunteer programs… kind of a bust, but it was nice to affirm my time here in MN by talking about it to others.

I realized while I rambled on about FCV to these girls how much I am missing out on the three pillars the program offers, which are supposed to be service, community and spirituality.  Hard to miss out on those pillars when they are in huge bullet points on the colorful tri-fold presentation next to you.  I feel like I miss out on those them a lot while I am here and all of us ‘go with the flow’ rather than intentionally focus on those three pillars.

That and I also need to be more honest about what FCV means to me, to others and especially to myself.  Of course at the fair I was trying my best to sell the program, but what I really wanted to say to everyone was how truly hard it is to foster Godly, inclusive community or how uncomfortable it is to grow in your faith, to have your boundaries stretched and constantly be exposed to things that are explicitly outside your comfort zone.  But I bit my tongue, and while I don’t regret not being blunt with the girls I talked to today, I walked away convicted that I am not being honest to myself about what I am experiencing.  I think I still have this nagging idea in my head that says community is supposed to be simple, or that solidarity with the poor or spending time with the marginalized is as easy and comforting as reading about it in Shane Claiborne’s  Irresistible Revolution or Bonaventure’s The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi.

It’s not, in fact.  And how does it help me deal if I am simply not being honest with myself about it?

Anyway, besides the fair itself it was a beautiful, just long, day.  The sun was out and about, making its mark on every facet of Duluth and Lake Superior.  Gorgeous.  I even welcomed the rays of light in my eyes, especially after we had those 500 or so days of straight up gloom.  Of course Superior was crazy blue and vast and jaw-dropping.  Katie and I walked around downtown, found some cute shops, nearly passed out over all the ridiculously priced stuff (like $60 mittens among other trinkets by local artisans) and grabbed the largest Chai tea latte of my life, in a mug the size of my face.  It was heavy and embarrassing.  But delish.  Oh and the sunset!  I’ve decided after seeing a fair share of them here that there’s no better place to see the sun go down.  There are barely any trees, it’s just a tad hilly, and the sunset lasts for about forty minutes.  The horizon is lower here than in NC with all those trees and mountains, and I don’t remember the sunsets being quite as colorful or majestic as the ones here.  It started around 5 o’ clock and the swirly, bright, vast, natural beauty seemed to last for ages.  I couldn’t stop watching.  I remember thinking afterward how I had just experienced something glorious and definitely special… and that happens every day.  Wow.

In the 6 or so hours in the car to and from Katie and I got to chat, catch up and cover a lot of neat topics, just getting to know each other more.  We don’t get to do this a whole lot even though she works out of the Franciscan Welcoming House where I live with the nuns.  I love talking to her because she’s a great listener, super sweet, goofy and affirming.

So all that and I got a nice break from a  busy week at the Children’s Home.  I am incredibly thankful for today!