This is a brand new blog from a cousin and good friend. I love his writing style and hope you will give him a chance by commenting and, perhaps, following the blog. Simply click on the link below.
General Pic 2014 <<<<< This is a good letter from Jonathon.
The Other Side of Cauliflower. <<<<< Click here for link to blog
Below the ending is the letter without Jonathon’s pic in case you couldn’t get that to work.
__________ Jonathon’s Letter without Pic _____________________________
2014. A New Year. I exhale, remembering the heavy air I breathed this past year as I release something lighter, air that has been spent in satisfying ways. I am tired, a good sort of tired. I’ve slept more than I’m used to in the past weeks, eaten at more regular hours of the day, gone on walks, felt a new wind sweep through. And the growing season is done! 2013 was all about risk and opportunity, about shedding baggage, about moving into a new way of doing life. I smile faintly at the ways the new path is outshining the old and weary.
It being New Year’s Day, big-picture thoughts float through my head. Today, I took a minute to write them down: Why am I here in northern Indiana, a state I once thought I’d never live in again? Why do I find myself single though more whole, seeking something difficult and raw from life? How is it that my family has experienced so much physical suffering this year and yet so much joy and new life? What do I make of the great relationships I have with family and old friends yet the reality of being so far from many of them in their values and opinions and their approaches to life? How do I not forget the harsh winds that blew me here yet move on, focus on the present and future with hope rather than dwell on the dark days of the past?
Part II: For many of you, it’s been a while since I’ve written an update to give the basics on what’s going on. Here goes: I now live in Goshen IN, turned 31, am not in a relationship, go to a Mennonite church, work for Goshen College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center (www.merrylea.goshen.edu) as the Farm Manager, and started a small farm business and a ‘CSA’ (Community Supported Agriculture) operation where families invest in the harvest and get a bag of produce each week. Other milestones: I joined Facebook (took me long enoughJ), wrote my first draft of a book, spent a week in California hiking and seeing friends/family, became an uncle, and bought a house. Having worked outside in the soil a lot this year, I am discovering that my body is not foolproof as I may have quietly thought at 23.
If I were to share any one update in greater detail, it would be the spiritual ah-ha moments of 2013. Last year at this time, I had a vision (yes, the crazy quasi-supernatural-ish kind) while sitting in a hotel room where my parents were staying on the southeast side of Goshen. That vision—an expansive painting of a motley crew of faceless people carrying a rough wooden yoke on their shoulders across a field with a space left open to one side, a dove in the muddy sky above the yoke, and the faint watery eyes of God looking out above the dove—would be an awakening that triggered all kinds of change, healing. Many of you played parts in this vision, whether I have told you about it or not. Some of you, I am now realizing, specifically represent individuals in the painting.
It is no coincidence, I believe, that after receiving the vision, I said yes to a number of surprising invitations—accepting a new job with a spiritually-driven organization where my deeper values can be employed and discussed, becoming an apprentice elder at my church, giving a sermon last summer that was profoundly helpful in my post-divorce healing process, and becoming more vulnerable with people in my life. One year later, the vision continues to stir me, a vision that visually articulates a calling to help carry others’ burdens and ask God and others for help to carry my own when I’m weighed down. I am to paint this vision, and I am eager to see what new leadings I discover as I prepare to do so, decipher who will be the recipients, unpack it meanings.
Pretty crazy, huh? Yes, exciting crazy! I write this at the risk of many of you finding me crazy, but life’s short, too short not to give you the real scoop even when it’s wild and wacky.
I step into this New Year with a flush of nerves. I hope to be more real, to write and be more creative, to respect my health and physical limits, to allow myself to believe the crazy and illogical, to more fully integrate the faith I claim to be my own. It will be a year of rejoicing that healing is happening, a year of not being afraid to be both a serious and a goofy person, a year of strength and courage to speak, as well as the foresight to be quiet and listen well.
I look forward to being more connected to friends and family, to learning more how to be neighborly, to being more open to the uncomfortable, and finding rest in receiving daily bread and trying not to worry about the perceived need for more.
Have a blessed transition into 2014, and I look forward to our encounters. You’re always welcome to come visit.