THE TITLE OF this post is shamelessly meta and cliché, but I think it every day. Most days it takes the form of a complaint (e.g. Why, God, why?); other days it is a sincere inquiry. Rarely does it express wonder and gratitude.
So tonight I say it as a declaration of praise.
How did I get here? How did I end up in my sparse room in a gentrifying neighborhood in a city that is not in a state but that houses some of the most powerful (and dysfunctional) institutions in the world?
Sojourners’ internship program led me to DC. I learned about Sojo at the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) conference. I went to the CCDA conference through Global Urban Perspectives (GUP), a ministry at my college that allows students to learn and participate in ministry in an urban low-income context. GUP sent me to Denver, where God showed me the limitlessness of the Gospel – through the wisdom of unhoused men and women, the hospitality of families who lived paycheck to paycheck, the vastness of mountains and starry night skies. Working and living in Denver showed me how desperately I needed grace. I could no longer prove my worth with my accolades. My new friends at the shelter didn’t need to know my GPA or how many instruments I played – not because they didn’t care, but because they appreciated me for who I was – just me.
But the rabbit trail doesn’t end there. I found GUP on a bulletin board as a freshman overflowing with “blessing” (privilege). I wanted to give more of myself to others. The reason I wanted to give was that I had received so much love (and graduation money) from friends and family members that summer, including those living in Hong Kong whom I hadn’t seen in 10 years.
I could go on, but I want to dwell on this: relationships. I’ve experienced relationships of all kinds, but the relationships that have transformed me for the better are the ones that don’t expect me to fit a mold. The ones that give without a predetermined budget. The ones that embrace without explanation. The ones that allow, even propel, me to be the person God creates me to be.
And all of these attributes are just a smidgeon of the love God has for God’s creation. Blows my mind.
How did I get here? I don’t really know – in the sense that I don’t know why certain things happened or why certain people entered my life. But at the same time, I do know. I know God is good. God is love. God is real.
I am here and only here by the grace of God.