girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Saturday, November 11, 2006

safe space

and so...today my brand new family ventured off into space...

NASA to be exact.

now, i've been to NASA about 5 times-mostly through the YMCA teen program i worked with, and so i kept wondering to myself why i should skip my greek class (right before finals), buuut karen campbell has a way of helping me put things into perspective.
...when in the world would i get the chance to hang out with these germans, brits, australians, californians, clear lakers...
so we went.
at breakfast, i got to sit with some of the neatest people at NASA.
'the astronaut of astronauts' was with us...and it was not only educational, but exciting to hear that most of the visitors from NASA were interested in the emergent church.
my dear, new friend mark led us through an amazing meditation before we headed out into the abyss...and it got me thinking...
perhaps this really is uncharted territory we're crossing into.
perhaps this new church thing IS as risky as they're telling me.
perhaps someone was brilliant in taking us to NASA, because honestly i couldn't see how in the world it was going to connect any of the dots for me.
but it did...immensely.
as listened on the tour and heard about the 'red phone' that's shown above... i began to wonder where i could get one. i've been in a couple places lately that i think i'd like to have the choice to dial out...get a little advice...or pass things on to someone holding a much higher rank.
yes, i'd like one red phone please.
and while i sat watching the short film on the new international space station...
i started to listen...
analogies began to flood me.
so many people, perspectives, languages, tools are all coming together in space.
they're binding themselves, making huge commitments, and learning to speak to each other.
i hope that this new church thing we're doing continues to learn how to speak, to accept, and to try.
i watched the astronauts crawling around on the outside of the space shuttles.
the film showed us just how dangerous it is...and i actually felt my stomach lurch.
i was frightened...as if i was on a roller coaster or was free-falling from a plane.
i felt queasy.
later, while walking around one of the actual rockets, larry j and i spoke of the significance of feeling small. i told him that i want to go to the grand canyon one day in order to feel small again. being a 22 year old woman in america...i'm almost bred to not feel humble.
i would like to feel small, and as if the world does not revolve around me.
larry mentioned the sequoia trees near him in cali...
and although that kind of serenity would be completely welcome in my life right now...
i cannot seem to get away from places like the grand canyon or space.
i want to feel small in those places.
and why...well, i think it's because of that lurch in my stomach.
it's risky...it's something few people have done...
and it makes me nervous.
the sequoias, though beautiful, serene, and magnificent are not a threat.
the thought of falling deep into the grand canyon
or slipping off into space
make me uncomfortable...
and i like it.
"failure IS NOT an option" we kept hearing repeated.
unlike apollo...i think failure is an option for us.
although i'd like to avoid it...there is still a chance.
this...'thing' that's been created this week by my new friends could possibly fail.
ken...or me...or wellspring can and probably will fail at times.
the chance to fail is risky...something no one wants to do...
and it makes me nervous.
and i like that too.
the film today said, 'there are a few things that can be done in space that simply cannot be done on earth...'
i think there are a few things in the 'emergent' church that simply can't, aren't, or won't be done in other places of church.
we are not elite...we don't have it figure out...we want to feel humble and small...
but despite all this, i am excited. i am proud. i am nervous.
i think of my friend mark...and his 'safe space'.
to me, that feels warm and welcoming,
but also a paradox at the moment.
space is not safe...not all the time...especially when you're out there on the edge.
but there is trust...and community...and in the event of failure, unlike the unforgiving nature of the galaxy...we have second chances. those that help us begin again.
my heart wanted to burst with joy while my new friends visited my academic home.
even though i wasn't with them all week...i have felt a deep connection...
a deep communion...
a connecting of kindred spirits...
people who will travel with me into unknown territory,
and perhaps fail with me.
who knows what storms and sunsets come tomorrow...
but this is it. this is the journey. this is home.

4 Comments:

Blogger Johannes Kleske said...

Here's more Juli + her grumpy german friends at Nasa

8:39 AM  
Blogger Mark Berry said...

I had the same thought process... re. the safeness of community versus the risk of mission... interesting that NASA uses the same language (Mission etc.) yet for them the question of failure is a no-go... however when you listen to their st0ry, you see looads of failures... some of them catastrophic... all of them moments of learning, they have to learn from them because they daren't repeat them I spose... but also like you I didn't like the phrase they use "failure is not an option" so much so that although I was thinking of buying Nathan a T-shirt I wouldn't buy one with that phrase on... I understand their use of it... but I didn't want to communicate it to him out of context... probably silly I know, but there are already too many people/bodies in this world that put way to much emphasis on success and not enough on the learning experience...

Keep growing my friend... it has been fantastic to meet you... and I look forward to coming back/seeing you in Europe sometime!

Pax
Mark

8:40 AM  
Blogger Johannes Kleske said...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonee/sets/72157594349997512/

8:41 AM  
Blogger KC said...

girl, do you even fathom how much you inspire me???

8:59 AM  

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