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Spirit-filled adventures

Justice Pilgrimage August 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — beccasuerho @ 1:38 pm

On my first visit to Guatemala, Joel Van Dyke situated our group on the edge of a cliff overlooking the city dump. With sights and sounds assaulting our senses, hearts and theologies, he told us that we don’t go to the poor because they need our help; we go because God’s grace dances in the lowest places, and we desperately need to be part of God’s grace.

This conversation from five years ago prepared the way for my experience in Guatemala this summer. “Grace is like water—it flows downhill and pools up in the lowest places” (Rocke and Van Dyke, 18). If I believe this is true, I cannot separate my spiritual formation from living justly.

For some time now I’ve really been embracing the idea that everything is spiritual. Christ can be met anywhere. I’ve found this to not only be a liberating thought, but one that encourages creative connection with the Spirit. As I consider my lifestyle and beliefs in light of this course, I want to lean into a moment of self-awareness: sometimes “everything is spiritual” can be my excuse to pursue only those things that bring me delight, calm, or entertainment. If Christ can be met anywhere, I’d just as soon meet him in nice places.

One of my convictions developed through this course, though, is that God has a special attentiveness for the poor and oppressed. God’s heart is for them, with them, in them. If my spirituality does not encompass meeting Christ in “low places”–places that are difficult, complicated, without privilege, overlooked–then I am missing a huge part of God’s heart. I am shielding myself from the full measure of delights and suffering that come from binding myself to the whole Body. I am imbibing on cheap grace.

Just as wanderers can enter into pilgrimage from different starting points, I’ve encountered several helpful starting places in this journey toward justice. Here I will outline six: prayer, failure, Scripture, creation, community and conversion. There is no silver bullet for social justice, but these tools act as guides on the trail as we step deeper into God’s awakening Kingdom.

Prayer

In the words of Paul the lessor, “If you want to work for justice, first get on your knees.” Praying for issues of justice and for people oppressed by injustice helps us enter into suffering with the heart of Christ. In fact, “an understanding of the importance of entering into one another’s sufferings” is one of the consequences of justice outlined by Campolo & Darling (41). I loved our times of prayer together in Guatemala…liturgical prayer, clearness committee prayer, lectio prayer, intercessory prayer for our brothers and sisters fighting injustice, and confessional prayers. These experiences not only led me deeper into God’s heart for the oppressed, but awakened my imagination to landscapes of prayer I’ve left little explored.

Prayer is also crucial to sustaining the work of justice. Those who try to take on every issue of injustice will burn out or compromise the ethos of the work. In prayer we keenly listen to the Spirt, waiting to be led into the right work in the right season. We are also able to discern a call to rest instead of work; within this balance we can be powerfully humble servants for the cause of justice.

Failure

“For most of us, learning to do anything requires the willingness to fail” (Martin 10). The inevitability of failure has also become a dear signpost for me in the journey toward justice. Martin compares faith development to muscle development: when you build muscle, you execute repetitions until your muscle can no longer perform; this is called a failure point (8). Your muscle has pushed itself as far as it can imagine going, so to speak. The next step is crucial: adequate rest (61). The tired muscle needs rest because that’s when it rebuilds–stronger. The next time the muscle is tested, it’s able to go a little further, and a little further, and a little further.

Just like someone who plans to develop muscle, those who desire to develop their faith must expect and plan for failure points. Martin suggests that often folks hit a failure point when they first encounter overwhelming injustice; there simply is no space or category in one’s current theology to accept that kind of shock (43). It’s a failure point, and it’s necessary. The failure point represents an opportunity to pull back, rest and consider what we’ve seen. From there we are able to re-engage injustice with a little more strength, perspective and tenacity.

Scripture

As I “confessed” in Guatemala, I’ve taken an informal hiatus from Scripture in the past few years. While I am not proud of this, I do want to be honest about it. I became just educated enough to sense that the way I had learned Scripture was too imbalanced, privileged, North American and Protestant.  One of the gifts I received in Guatemala was the opportunity to read Scripture through the lens of justice. The few times I have done this, well-rehearsed verses have nearly popped off the page at me, brimming with life and challenge and rugged beauty. When I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, it was like new words were forming on the page in front of my eyes:

Love never gives up, even though the issues are complex and the statistics staggering.

Love cares more about the oppression of others than personal convenience.

Love doesn’t want for the sake of acquiring, but considers need.

Love doesn’t strut—how can it? We are all implicated in injustice.

It doesn’t have a swelled head, but walks humbly.

It doesn’t force itself on others (rushing in with solutions), but lifts them up.

It doesn’t keep score of the sins of others or revel when others are stuck in a lower social status—progress and redemption are more important than self-preservation.

Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything for the sake of shalom.

Love trusts that redemption is God’s initiative,

And expects that the best is yet to come.

Love mixes every one part despair with nine parts of hope,

And keeps going till justice reigns.

I believe Eric referred to this phenomenon as “dislocated reading”—the idea that moving ourselves away from geographic or physical familiarity or comfort will cause words to carry new meanings, depending on our environment. While my theology hasn’t always encompassed “an awareness that Christ in in the poor and oppressed, waiting to be loved and served” (another “consequence of justice” outlined by Campolo and Darling) I am finding that Scripture has always been ready to shed light on these truths to those who have ears to hear ( 41).

Creation

Reading Psalm 148 in the middle of our time in Guatemala felt strange or disjointed at first, but upon further reflection it became an incredibly appropriate testament to the totality of God’s justice. Too often we humans have exercised dominion over creation for our own purposes and as expressions of our own power, rather than stewarding creation with the humility and care befitting servants and friends of the Creator. But nonhuman creation is more than simply another victim of injustice; we can look at sister volcano, brother lake, and sister tree as ancient witnesses of God’s just reign. They bear witness to the Creator in ways humans do not, and they are co-worshippers with us as we participate in God’s unfolding Kingdom. In Romans 8:18-21 the Apostle Paul describes a “pregnant creation” which, along with us, is experiencing “birth pangs” as we await the total release of God’s reign on earth as it is in heaven (The Message).

Community

“Anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead” ( The Message, 1 John 3:14). Community turns out to be an effective practice course for pursuing justice. If we cannot interact with our loved ones, coworkers and neighbors with a spirit of love, we should consider our motives for pursuing justice in other arenas. If we do not seek to understand and learn from our differences with those near us, we should hesitate before assuming we will effectively serve the oppressed in other cultures. Furthermore, community helps keep us accountable, balanced and grounded. In both my spiritual direction session and in the Cohort Clearness Committees I found that we did not need to process our work with injustice (per se) so much as we needed to process issues back home. Finding freedom in these contexts, with the help of my community, liberated me to be even more attentive to the experiences at hand in Guatemala.

Particularly in North American culture, it can be tempting to make social justice an individual pursuit; we may be overwhelmed by the prospect of mass social change and resort to just making a difference “one person at a time.” While there is nothing wrong with this approach, Remple asserts we cannot be content with just that if we seek systemic justice. He calls for shifts in culture that produce sustainable consumption and  “…demonstrate an abundant life can flow from human beings…who draw significant sustenance from being…within a community” (An Economy for the Earth, 30).

Conversion

We’ve worked with several guiding models in this class, and I’m engrossed by how they seem to spill into one another like intertwining circles or, better yet, as I imagine the dance between the Trinity. First, in Micah 6:8 we have these words: “act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly.” Second, Dorr offers a three-pronged concept of conversion: personal, interpersonal/moral, and societal/political (cited in Campolo and Darling 17).

I’m particularly caught by this idea of moral conversion—having my heart turned toward others in a fundamental way, letting concern for my neighbor move me as an expression of God’s Spirit within me. While it may not always happen in this sequence, moral conversion naturally bleeds into a concern for the sociopolitical structures in which people live. This type of conversion leads us to the remaining two “consequences of justice” named by Campolo and Darling: “a call to challenge institutionalized religion” and “a plan for the world as it should be” (41). I am on the lookout now, mapping the processes of these conversions in myself, paying attention to how God is transforming me, and preparing to engage injustice in the ways I am called.

These six starting places have stirred up so many ideas for action and contemplation. As I consider my “next steps” in this particular season, there are two main ideas I want to articulate.

One of the more significant pieces of the trip for me was an extended conversation I had with Nina and Eric about race and privilege. This year I’ve begun to do some work on these areas, trying to name the ways in which I experience privilege so I can be more aware of how others may not experience it. In June I read Understanding White Privilege by Frances Kendall, which helped me engage these issues more deeply than I had done before. My conversation with Nina and Eric was a powerful next step in this journey; I was able to recount recent experiences where I saw privilege misused (either by myself or others) and gain valuable feedback—feedback that was both honest and gracious. This special time in Guatemala is serving as an impetus for further reflection and growth for me as I explore what justice looks like for the privileged and the unprivileged—particularly those in my North American context. One practical way I will be exploring this is through my arrangement to have more regular conversations with Nina about race and privilege.

This ties in with the broader practice of contemplation. Merton asserts that contemplation is crucial to the task of remaining human (215). I am drawn to expressing  the practice of contemplation in a few different ways: first, in leaning in to the Examen and letting that become at least a daily rhythm. I continue to be convinced that the work of justice must start with a listening ear, a heart courageous enough to know itself so it can listen to the cries of the oppressed without motives of self-preservation. In regularly identifying my consolations and desolations, I want to be aware of how the Spirt is leading me to consider justice in new ways.

A second expression of contemplation is simply having a new lens for looking at the world. Vander Meulen calls this lens “epiphany eyes,” or an ability to notice injustice where privilege and familiarity blind us (62). As is to be expected, this first week back from Guatemala has been full of moments where I see things around me I hadn’t see before. One of my tasks moving forward is to keep seeking things that will help me hone that awareness: articles, the news, books, lectures, conversations, songs, Scripture, meditation, Examen, etc. I was recently given the image of a one-way ticket to capture the idea that we embark on these journeys knowing we are constantly heading toward a new destination or reality. This process of learning more about God’s heart for justice isn’t and can’t be just an educational excursion. It needs to lead to a new way of looking at the world, a new way of engaging the world, a new way of understanding self as part of the whole. Certainly on this journey progress may be delayed or set back, but the overall trajectory is forward with the Spirit.

 Works Cited

Campolo, Tony, and Mary Albert Darling. The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice. Jossey-Bass, 2007.

Kendall, Frances E. Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships across Race. Routledge, 2006.

Martin, Jim. The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-taking, Justice-seeking, Disciple-making Congregation. Tyndale Momentum, 2012.

Merton, Thomas. Faith and Violence; Christian Teaching and Christian Practice. University of Notre Dame Press, 1968.

Remple, Henry. “An Economy for the Earth.”  Global Wealth, from Christian Reflection: A Series in Faith and Ethics, 2007, pp. 60-64, https://sauonline.arbor.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-2121181-dt-content-rid-5210015_1/courses/SFL671_SU12_E1/Global%20Weath %2C%20Do%20Justice-Keep%20it%20Simple.pdf. Accessed 12 Aug. 2016.

Rocke, Kris, and Joel Van Dyke. Geography of Grace: Doing Theology from Below. Street Psalms, 2012.

The Bible. NIV/The Message Parallel Bible, Zondervan, 2004.

Vander Meulen, Peter. “Do Justice—Keep it Simple.” Global Wealth, from Christian Reflection: A Series in Faith and Ethics, 2007, pp. 60-64, https://sauonline.arbor.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-2121181-dt-content-rid-5210015_1/courses/SFL671_SU12_E1/Global%20Weath %2C%20Do%20Justice-Keep%20it%20Simple.pdf. Accessed 12 Aug. 2016.

 

 

 

Relentless Hope 8/3/16 August 16, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — beccasuerho @ 12:18 pm

I have felt the weight of transitioning back to “normal” life after Guatemala in almost every fiber of my being. I am exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. I feel as if I need to ration out each day’s energy carefully, lest I run out too early. Much like Janet shared in her blog, I also feel the gift and weight of seeing the world through a different lens: my heart and my senses are heightened towards issues of justice, privilege and oppression.

In the midst of this new and powerful turbulence I am brought back to some crucial points from this course. First, spiritual growth is predicated on the idea that there will be times of failure—an inability to act because our theology or experiences have not prepared us for a certain truth—and there need to be times of rest (Jim Martin writes about this beautifully in The Just Church). While the Spirit has been inviting, I have had to give myself permission to rest and be restored by simple delights: quiet evenings with my spouse, less frantic production at work, plenty of sleep. As unconventional as it may sound, these are crucial practices for sustainable growth in the Spirit-led life.

Second, I have to give myself time to “unpack” the memories and lessons of this experience in Guatemala. One such memory came this evening. I was telling my spouse that one of my take-aways from the trip is starting to read Scripture through the lens of justice. The few times I have done this, well-rehearsed verses have nearly popped off the page at me, brimming with life and challenge and rugged beauty. I remembered that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 was one of those passages for me.

I share these meditations with you from a taut and tired heart, befuddled by the enormity of injustice but driven by our hope in a relentlessly loving God.

Love never gives up, even though the issues are complex and the statistics staggering.

Love cares more about the oppression of others than personal convenience.

Love doesn’t want for the sake of acquiring, but considers need.

Love doesn’t strut—how can it? We are all implicated in injustice.

It doesn’t have a swelled head, but walks humbly.

It doesn’t force itself on others (rushing in with solutions), but lifts them up.

It doesn’t keep score of the sins of others or revel when others are stuck in a lower social status—progress and redemption are more important than self-preservation.

Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything for the sake of shalom.

Love trusts that redemption is God’s initiative,

And expects that the best is yet to come.

Love mixes every one part despair with nine parts of hope,

And keeps going till justice reigns.

 

References:

Martin, Jim. The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-taking, Justice-seeking, Disciple-making Congregation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2012. Print.

1 Corinthians. The Message. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004. Print.

 

 

La Limonada 7/30/16 August 1, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — beccasuerho @ 12:32 am

La Limonada (a blog written for MSFL but reposted here!)

Today our bus driver, Eddie, maneuvered some tight spaces as we made our way into the heart of La Limonada. “Developed” may be too organized a word to describe how this community came to be over the past six decades. Composed of ten neighborhoods, La Limonada exists in a once-lush ravine, populated by Guatemalans whose lives were turned upside-down by a horrific, 36 year civil war. According to Lemonade International, it is the largest urban slum in Central America, though it is only about one mile long. La Limonada is known for its high levels of violence, mainly perpetrated by the ten gangs that rule the ten neighborhoods.

It would have been downright foolish to have entered La Limonada except for the fact that we went with Tita. Tita is a Guatemalan who has been working in this community for the past 21 years. She and her team have already built three academies and are opening a fourth academy any day. Based on a holistic model of community development, Tita and the teachers focus a lot of effort on violence prevention through love and before and after school education.

It’s a Saturday so the children are not at the academy. We fold ourselves into their little wooden desks and listen with rapt, astonished attention as Tita describes the community dynamics. She tells us that by age 7, the reality of poverty begins to hit the children hard, and many turn to gang involvement early on. While the children do attend public schools at the edge of the ravine, Tita and her teachers find that their before and after school programs at the academy provide more education and development for students. In the academies children will receive their only meal of the day, as well as limited psychological services, hygiene education, and attention from loving adults. While the three existing academies serve 500 students, it is still less than 1% of the child population of La Limonada. And of these 500 students, nearly 100% have experienced or are experiencing sexual abuse.

We stagger under the weight of such realities.

After a week of conversations like this, we are becoming familiar with the sense of being overwhelmed….

And yet.

We can’t let the immensity of the problems excuse us from partnering with the God who is already at work in the darkest of places. Our professors Paul and Mary remind us: if you want to go about the work of justice, begin by getting on your knees. And that is how we began today. We surrounded and placed loving hands on Tita and her teammate Lucia. We allowed the tears of Christ to fall from our eyes, mourning the brokenness yet clinging to the hope that “though the wrong seem oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

Prayer is that centering act that frees us to be humble in our pursuit of justice. In prayer we are invited to not take our finitude and ineptitude too seriously, but to take the merciful, powerful love of God very seriously indeed. From such humility flows action that is just and a creativity fueled by love.

Hope stirs in La Limonada.

If you want to learn more, visit http://www.lemonadeinternational.org/.

 

Fail, Rest, Repeat 7/8/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — beccasuerho @ 12:31 am

Fail, Rest, Repeat (a blog written for MSFL but reposted here!)

“For most of us, learning to do anything requires the willingness to fail. An unwillingness to fail can be a significant barrier to learning….Any significant growth in faith will require risk and even failure.”

Jim Martin’s words about faith and failure have become a crucial guide for me as I consider our upcoming experience in Guatemala, but also as I contemplate the long-range trajectory of my faith journey. Martin compares faith development to muscle development: when you build muscle, you execute repetitions until your muscle can no longer perform. This is called a failure point. Your muscle has pushed itself as far as it can imagine going, so to speak. The next step is crucial: adequate rest. The tired muscles need rest because that’s when it rebuilds–stronger. The next time the muscle is tested, it’s able to go a little further, and a little further, and a little further.

Just like someone who plans to develop muscle, those who desire to develop their faith must expect and plan for failure points. Martin suggests that often folks hit a failure point when they first encounter overwhelming injustice; there simply is no space or category in one’s current theology to accept that kind of shock. It’s a failure point, and it’s necessary. The failure point represents an opportunity to pull back, rest and consider what we’ve seen. From there we are able to re-engage injustice with a little more strength, perspective and tenacity.

As a recovering perfectionist, I am eager to incorporate this understanding of failure points into my life. I am trying to do that in little ways as I absorb the readings for this social justice class. It would be easy to compare myself to the work others are doing in solidarity with the poor and marginalized. It would be easy to defend my lifestyle by becoming critical of others’ methods in pursuing social justice.

Instead, I am trying to approach this material with my hands spread out and upward–ready to receive the stories, the calls to actions, the staggering statistics. This is a season of active learning and contemplation. I may very well hit a failure point at some point in this process–overcome with rage, fear, sadness, or all three–but I hope I will welcome that failure point, take time to rest and reflect, and then extend my hands again, ready to receive.

 

Always Beginners 7/8/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — beccasuerho @ 12:30 am

Always Beginners (a blog written for MSFL but reposted here!)

In January 2011 I traveled to Guatemala with Spring Arbor University as an undergraduate. At that time we explored many of the same areas Cohort 19 will be exploring in a few short weeks. As I consider our upcoming journey I am very eager to re-encounter the beautiful country I fell in love with five years ago, yet at the same time, I am acutely aware of how different this will be.

Five years ago I was barely scratching the surface of what it means to love justice. I knew it was something I should do, but it felt very intangible; I didn’t know how to practice justice where I was. I always assumed I would live abroad some day in order to fulfill the biblical mandate of caring for the poor, since I didn’t see much need in America. Sounds rather trite and naive, doesn’t it?

A lot has happened in five years. It seems I’ve been in constant transition since my last trip to Guatemala, but the MSFL program has helped me find ways to practice a lifestyle of reflection amidst the constant change. While I can’t claim to be significantly more knowledgeable regarding issues of justice, I can say I’ve grown more adept at listening to and learning from the world around me. I think this is how a love for justice must start–with an open ear.

In their book Geography of Grace: Doing Theology from Below, Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke identify a “three-step plan” for redeeming injustice, and the first step is crucial: Consider It. Our “aid” to others will prove hollow if we do not begin with a student posture, a willingness to hear and learn.

One of the things I love about Spring Arbor’s cross-cultural experiences is the lack of a designated mission project. While service projects certainly have their place, trips like the one we are about to encounter are times of consecrated learning. We go to breathe their air, walk in their streets, hear their stories and resonate with their heartbreak. Often we find that it is within these periods of listening and learning that the Spirit prompts and guides and teaches in fresh ways.

As we read and reflect and prepare for our journey, I am seeking an attitude of attentiveness and a posture of listening. No matter how much I think I know, I do best when I remember that we are all–always–beginners.

 

The New Normal July 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — beccasuerho @ 2:13 pm

About 50 weeks ago I wrote a post about our move to Spokane. At the time, it seemed to represent an unexpected series of busy summers…2013 involved me welcoming two roommates into my little campus apartment, lots of hosting of friends and family, and getting engaged. 2014 was our wedding, 2015 was moving out of state and starting new jobs. Now, smack in the middle of another busy summer, I’m beginning to think this is the new normal. And really–I’m quite okay with that.

So far this summer has included a conference in Orlando, the news of another Fresno friend joining us at Whitworth this summer, and multiple visitors. Valerie (Jon’s mother) visited for a few days, followed by two FPU students who crashed at our place on their way to Canada. Next came our dear friends Mandie and Chris. While they were visiting we put down a security deposit for a larger apartment located one mile closer to Whitworth. Jon and I decided that since we tend to host friends and family so frequently, we might as well rent a place with a second bedroom and bathroom (read: no pregnancy announcements here!). Lastly, our good friends JY and Rachel visited for a couple of days. We’ve felt incredibly blessed by these friendships and great family relationships, as well as our very accommodating work schedules. We look forward to more visitors!

My spare time between guests has been spent reading for my upcoming Guatemala trip. My Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Leadership program takes each cohort of students to Guatemala for a course in Social Justice. In preparation for the trip we consume a good handful of books, articles and podcasts including Faith and Violence by Thomas Merton, The Just Church by Jim Martin and Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice by Daniel Groody. My mind is quite full and eager to have lengthy conversations with my cohort about this material. I’m also eager to sit under the tutelage of folks who are already living lives committed to justice for the poor, overlooked, and marginalized. Especially considering the recent socio-political events in our country, I am traveling to Guatemala with open ears, ready to listen and hopefully learn a little bit more how I can act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God and others.

Today, tomorrow and Wednesday Jon and I will be packing and cleaning our apartment. Thursday I’ll fly to Guatemala while he’ll begin house sitting for some friends. When I return to the States around August 1, we’ll be in the middle of turning in our keys, moving our belongings to a new home, and (for me) starting a new academic year.

I’m learning that I thrive amidst such frequent, significant changes–macro changes, if you will. I’m also learning that I need the steadiness of rituals, rhythms and habits to fuel me on a daily basis; micro rituals. It’s the same as the link between contemplation and action: both are required for healthy humanity. So I’m leaning into this new normal…and signing off to go pack up a few more boxes.

 

 

Weddings & Airports October 10, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — beccasuerho @ 12:18 am

In two days my best friend from second grade is getting married. I’m heading her way, currently waiting in a Seattle airport as I wait for my 11pm flight to Detroit. Seems like a good time to document the tale of Jessie and Becca. 

My family moved to a new part of town when I was entering the second grade. I remember feeling a bit vulnerable as I was shown to my new classroom and seated by a girl assigned to be my “helper.” Kelly self-importantly answered some of my questions and through her I met Kayla. Kelly and Kayla were inseparable, but they welcomed me as a third wheel. That is, until the day I was cast out of their friendship during recess. I wandered across the dull grass wondering who I would play with. I saw a girl who seemed to be having a lot of fun running around. 

“Hey, what are you doing?” I asked. 

“Chasing Matt! Want to help me?” 

“Sure.” 

Thus, our friendship was born. Good ol’ Matt served as our common goal. Jessie liked him, I just liked picking on him. (Don’t worry, he liked the attention, we weren’t that mean).

Looking back, it’s funny how apparent our personalities were back then. I always had a crush on a different guy, Jessie always liked Matt. Under her cheerful influence I chose the color purple and otters as my favorites, but soon I wanted to switch it up. Jessie respectfully declined changing our favorite color and animal. This is just who she is. She knows what she likes, and she is deeply loyal. 

Even when Jessie’s family moved to a new part of town and took her to our rival school, she always loved her friends in Otsego and never talked trash about us. She and I would find times to catch up and have our girly sleepovers, and she was always just the same Jessie: fun-loving, sacrificial, servant-hearted, goofy and straight-forward. 

The years have certainly flown by for us. We attended the same college for a semester or so, shared coffee dates when we could on my visits home, and would catch up over text from time to time. Always the same, endearing Jessie. 

Last year she volunteered to come help me with my wedding. She showed up the day before to help set up the church and introduced me to her boyfriend, Jordan. I liked him and was excited they were together. The two of them were a huge help as we got ready for my big day. Now, they are about to have their own big day. 

I’m about to board my plane so to wrap this up: I love this girl. She is the sweetest, kindest person I know and if someone can “deserve” someone else, she and Jordan seem to deserve each other. To the bride and groom!