By. James Alexander
“Home is behind, The world ahead, and there are many paths to tread”
Pippin, Lord of the Rings by J. R.R. Tolkien
While my physical journey didn’t start until August 12th. My mental, and spiritual journey however started early in the summer after graduation. During most of my summer I couldn’t help but think of the Irish monks on the Island of Skellig Michael who gave up their lives and comfort to serve God in a foreign place. I was thinking about all the ways in which my journey with Grace on the Hill is similar to what they did. While driving to Richmond from my home in Eastern Kentucky, I felt a bit of nervousness and fear creep into my mind. This would be the first time in my life that I have moved outside of the state I grew up in. It was like the first day of college, but magnified. When I went away to college I could always go home if I needed to but now I do not have the luxury of fleeing to home base if times get hard or scary or overwhelming. Instead I will have to learn to depend on God and on the people around me. Since I have moved to Richmond, I can begin to understand these monks who journeyed for God. I will say it is not a particularly easy thing to pack up and move to a new place and live in intentional community with complete strangers. I think the main reason I journeyed away from my comfort zone is so that I might grow in my understanding of myself as a whole person. This came to me in a sermon at St. Andrews Church on the third Sunday I have lived Richmond. Towards the end of the sermon, the congregation was prompted with a question: “Who do you say you are?” I realized in this moment that while I am doing this program as service to God and to others, I am also doing it as a service to myself. God desires for us to live up to our full potential and for us to live as whole persons in communion with Him and with others. God invites us to step out of our comfort zones because if we don’t, we will not experience the fullness of what God wants to teach us and show us. Though I am fearful and unsure of what lies ahead of me on this journey, my hope is that I will discover a little bit more of who I am and who I want to be.