This is not a cope out. I am not cheeting. I am not even bending the rules, becasuse I met a few other people today on the way to meet Angel.
Technically she is not "new," but then again no one really is, right? Or at least not those whom I could have a convesation with. And yet, it was in our conversation today that I realized how new Angel had become since we first met in Greek class at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Last year, it was Earl who I had reconnected with. Like Angle, it had been a long time since Earl and I meet up. And when I did I realized a few things about human beings. That is, the changes we make over time make us new to people we haven't seen over a long period of time simply because we are always becoming new, both to ourselves and to others.
Back then, like so many of us, Angel had zeal for religion, for God, for Jesus, and for living it all out authentically in the world. But like all of us, she too went through the deconstruction process and forced to find her own voice and opinion in a field cluttered with opinionated voices. Not always the easiest thing to do when you are the youngest sibling in a Chinese immigrant home.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Angle studied systems architecture. Despite her “liberal” birthplace and her “systematic” profession, she still struggles to find the balance in her life as she works on her doctorate degree. She continues to work at Fuller and is still seeking answers to her deep, theological questions.
Angel and I had many classes together, and we even had a small group that met once a week which offered a safe space to share our struggles and offer spiritual care to one another. It was in those hours, over all those lunch tables, that our friendship was forged.
After graduation, I moved away. And like it was with Earl (last year) we didn’t communicate as much as friends should. (But I still blame her because she never really embraced texting.) When we moved back and I started my church, Angle came to show support. But that was nearly three years ago. And so, we made it a point to get together.
That’s when I noticed Angel was new again. A new sense of Spirit, a new sense of wonderment with new sets of questions and, more importantly, new perspectives. It didn’t take long for our conversation to move from light-hearted chit-chat to that safe space we had once created for each other. As we sat at the table, sharing our lunches, we talked about vulnerability and hurt, love and inclusion, God and church.
Just as it was nine years ago, my heart felt a kind of peace that often came from discussions with her. This is something that seemed to be missing in my life. This is something I have sought to find in the other’s whom I have met this month so far. It made me feel new.
Judging by the quality of our time together, and the many years that have pasted, I couldn’t help but to make Angel my KNOWvember choice! Looking back to my time with Earl (Day 25, 2018) I recalled why it is so important to that I do. I still stand by these words:
Spending my lazy afternoon with Earl helped me realize that people change. We are not the same people we once were. Whether it’s been a day, a week, or a few decades, we have to acknowledge that some of the people we thought we knew can turn out not to be the people we thought they were. And we won’t know how different they are (or we are) unless we sit down and enjoy an afternoon together getting bitten by mosquitos and learning about one another all over again.” (With Earl P, Nov. 25, 2018)