When I first formed Word Alchemy five years ago, it was with an eye to being able to work anywhere in the world. While I was comfortable in upstate New York, I quickly set my sights on working on a tropical island, and I would joke about working “the Nassau Way”… complete with wifi and electricity that extends to the hammock near the water and an administrative assistant well-versed in bookkeeping, organization, and daiquiri-making.
I dreamed into this further as I worked with Ray Patterson and his brilliant strategic life visioning process. And for Christmas 2009, Carl Eeman gave me a poster of that hammock by the sea. When I got the poster, I taped it (I thought temporarily) over a framed print of “Night with her Train of Stars” that hangs on the wall across from my bed. Since that Christmas day in 2009, I have looked at that poster every day I have been in that room. This is my view:
Since then, of course, I heard the call to ministry and am well on my way. Part of being on my way is seeking an internship position in a congregation for the year after I graduate from seminary. As early as this past August, I started haunting the UUA’s Internship Clearinghouse… and was delighted to discover a new teaching congregation in Key West, Florida. Key West! That seemed so fantastical… yet what an opportunity! While other congregations began to fill the page, I found myself not willing to let go of my initial thrill, and added Key West to the sites I applied for.
Now I will admit – at some point, in the midst of interviewing with some large congregations with well-established intern minister programs, I began to think Key West might be too small and too green. And then I heard someone at another seminary say “everyone is applying there!” and I figured the pool would be too large and I would get lost in the mix anyway.
I am happy to say I interviewed at all the sites I applied for.. but after each of the first three, I felt a little uncomfortable, doubtful, and worried. I knew I’d be happy at two of them but it was clear I wasn’t a really good fit.
And then I talked to the intern search committee in Key West. It was an incredibly fantastic conversation. I heard places where my gifts would meet their needs … and of course where their strengths would teach me and help soften my growing edges. We laughed together, we spoke in first person terms, we engaged each other. And when I hung up I thought “this is it.” I then heard from my references that they’d had amazing conversations with the committee as well.
On Wednesday, December 18th, Rev. Dr. Randy Becker and board president Joy Taylor called to offer me the position as their intern minister, starting August 1, 2014… and now I am a part of One Island Family, the Southernmost Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
A day later, I traveled back to Round Lake for the holidays, and as I sat on my bed, I looked and saw that poster.
The dreaming… the imagining…the visioning.
Sure, not precisely as I imagined it five years ago… but five years ago, I knew I wanted to live and work on a tropical island. And in about seven months, I will be doing exactly that… in a more meaningful, heart-felt, missional way.
Can dreams come true? Bet on it. And if you are open to how they will manifest, they may surprise you and be even better than you imagined.
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