As my last year of college is drawing near to a close and as we as Christians are approaching the season of Easter, I’ve been reflecting on all the ways that newness and resurrection have enriched my life this year. Entering into my fourth year, I had expected to spend a lot of time with the old: to spend time with wonderful old friends, reflect on old memories, and relish in my final times doing the same old things in the same old places. And while I have certainly done a lot of that and am grateful for the roots I’ve put down here, what has surprised me in this year has been the opportunities to dwell in the new. I moved into a new house with five other women who quickly became new friends and taught me new things about food justice, Instagram meme accounts, gratitude, and love. I discovered new bands and started listening to new podcasts. I made other new friends in classes where I continue to learn about new ways of seeing the world. I learned new ways of taking care of myself and giving myself to others, and it is comforting to know that even a place I thought I had gotten to know so deeply could have such vitality to continue to surprise and challenge me.
I have felt this newness deeply in the relationships I’ve built with the other eleven Horizons Fellows I have had the pleasure of getting to know this year. Spending time with these Fellows in our monthly meetings, over s’mores on the Lawn on a Friday night or late-night study sessions in the Theological Horizons office, I have deepened my belief that our triune God is fundamentally relational and reveals Herself in the relationships we stumble upon and cultivate. Some of the Fellows I’ve known for all four years at UVa, but many of them I likely would never have met without Theological Horizons. I’m grateful for the ways they’ve brought to life new ways of loving myself, others, and God. Earlier this year, we read Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” together. The last stanza has become something of a mantra for me:
Be like the fox
Who makes more tracks than necessary,
Some in the wrong direction
I have felt closely and deeply connected with God and Her constant newness and vitality in the relationships that have continued to be born and reborn even as my time in this place comes to a close. I have made lots of tracks, many in the wrong direction, as I’ve learned from and done life alongside the Horizon Fellows. We’ve practiced resurrection together and I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the role these eleven fellows and our fearless leader Christy have played in filling me with excitement for all of the new I will encounter after I leave this place.