In regards to my placement in Greece, things are happening quite quickly now after months of almost nothing moving forward. It seems that I will fly to Greece in about a month (no dates set in stone, yet) on a 90 day travel visa, and from there the lawyer at the non-profit will help me to fill out paperwork for a long-stay visa. All of this was decided in a matter of hours and now that it’s finally happening I’m feeling all kinds of ways.
First and foremost, my soul is soaring. Katerini, Greece is where I feel called to be, working with the Evangelical Church in Greece and their affiliated non-profit, Perichoresis, to do holistic refugee integration. I have had a relationship with this non-profit and these people for about a year and a half now, and ever since that first visit in August of 2016 I have been yearning to return for longer. Every day that goes by without my being in Greece pulls on my heart. I have visited this community many times, enjoyed bike rides in the park with refugee students, met families who will be in my integration program, bonded with future coworkers, worshiped with the local community, and so much more. I feel deeply connected not only to this work, but to this place in particular. Knowing that I will soon return has me high on life.
But I am also a little sad to be departing from my community here in central Ohio. I had the opportunity to reconnect with so many spectacular humans that I hadn’t been able to see for years and it recharged me in ways I never knew I needed. Saying goodbye to them for another year or two will be difficult.
All the itineration opportunities that I’ve had during my time in the states have really plugged me into the wider UCC scene, and I’ll miss getting to make all those trips. My most recent trip to Massachusetts, especially, reminded me of just how many church homes I have now.
I’ve been thinking a lot today about these connections – the ones I have in Greece, ones here in the US, and even those in Hungary. I’m reminded that I am a person who bonds intensely with those around me. I strive to cultivate an atmosphere of authenticity and bring others into it.
Constantly moving to follow my calling is rewarding in so many ways, but each time I move I have to leave behind folks that I’ve become incredibly close to for one reason or another, and then I have to begin the process all over again when I get to my destination. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting all at once, and as much as I adore this lifestyle right now, I wonder how long my life will be structured like this. How long I can take it.
Moving. Connecting intensely. Feeling a call. Moving to a new context. Connecting intensely. Feeling another call. And again. And again.
When will I find a place to settle in – where I can build relationships with people and then devote time to cultivating them for the long-term? There are so many places where I could have stayed, where it would have been so comfortable (and certainly much easier) to stay and start building a life, but instead I have followed my call wherever it leads me.
My life is so rewarding and I am endlessly grateful for all that I have witnessed, accomplished, and been blessed with. But still, I wonder when I will feel a call to stay still for a little while longer.
For now, that time has not come. And so I continue to prepare for this next step. This next part of the world that calls to my soul.
It says to me. And so I shall.