Guest Blogger Maddie Hill: Wrestling with A Mystery

People keep asking me why I’m here. Actually, they won’t stop asking me. It feels as though everywhere I go someone new wants to hear my explanation for my presence here.

I get it. Don’t worry. I’m asking myself the same question. How did I get from drama school New York City to the Episcopal Service Corps in Central Pennsylvania?

This time last year my life was a collection of rehearsals, late nights/early mornings writing scripts and papers, weekends babysitting rich people’s dogs in lower Manhattan. I ate cheap sushi with humiliating frequency. I was so exhausted that I thought the circles under my eyes would literally never go away. I slept on a broken Ikea bed so every night my body was on a diagonal. And I was really, really happy.

But I walked away – not forever, for a year. I decided to step away from my regular life because I felt I had something to do.  

And so here I am, working with preschoolers and kindergarteners at The Joshua Group, living in community with a house full of beautiful introverts. To be perfectly honest, I don’t feel like I need an explanation. I don’t need to be able to articulate exactly why I am here, what purpose I serve, what change I would like to make in someone else’s life. That feels proud and impossible.

But I keep returning to the idea of a mystery. In the Episcopal Church, we talk about it all the time. The Mystery of Christmas. The Mystery of Easter. The Mystery of Communion. We don’t claim to know what happens in those sacred spaces but we choose to believe that whatever transpires is special and holy. We can’t articulate exactly what they are, we can’t wholly understand them, so we call them a mystery.

That’s sort of how I feel about my time here. I know something is happening both in me and around me, although I’m not sure what. I can feel myself stretching in lots of new and difficult ways. And every time I consider pulling away and checking out, I find myself all of a sudden pulled back in. I’m wrestling with a mystery.

And maybe that enough – knowing there is work to be done, questions to be asked, wholly uncertain of the end result. Knowing that simply by saying yes to the gray space, I get enter something holy.

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