For a New Beginning

Rev. Christy Fisher, Director of TCM

My family and I just finished our audio version of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (yes, it was a book on tape) when we turned off I-5 and merged onto Union Ave, following the signs to the University of Puget Sound and eventually the designated parking lot for my move into Todd/Phibbs Hall. During the last four days, I was smashed into the back of my parent’s Ford Explorer, which was packed to the gunwales, on my mom’s Family Fun Farewell Adventure. She planned the ultimate family road trip from our small town in Colorado to Tacoma for what would likely be our last family road trip (I’m an only child, that surely gives you some context for such a journey). Our trip was less ultimate family adventure and more a marathon of leg cramps, mood-swings, yelling and weeping. Endings and beginnings are always tough, especially when you’re crammed in a car with stuff AND emotions.  As we pulled into the parking lot by Thompson Hall, enthusiastic students welcomed us to campus and gave us directions. I was shiny, anxious, wide-eyed, and full of hopes as the person taking my ID photo snapped the shot.

It’s hard for me to believe that was nearly fifteen years ago.

I had no idea how hard I would fall for the city of Tacoma. Even after leaving her for the last eight years (a story for another post), my homesickness for her never waned. It was Tacoma College Ministry who taught me that Tacoma really is the City of Destiny. TCM has always been committed to connecting students to the greater Tacoma community, which exists outside of the UPS “bubble.” TCM allowed me to glimpse visions of the Kingdom of God by connecting me to the city and to her people in ways I could never have done myself. I learned to pay attention to the way God was already at work in the places I had assumed God wasn’t. I learned that the practice of sharing stories in community transforms us and liberates us from our self-imposed isolation. I learned that when we wrestle with the stories Jesus told and the sacred texts from the Hebrew Bible, our hearts can’t help but be changed and our actions transformed.

Words can’t begin to describe the deep joy I feel stepping into the position of Director at TCM. Thanks to our Board of Directors, community supporters and especially our former Executive Director, Cody Lail– TCM is in an amazing place. I’m thrilled to serve a LGBTQ affirming campus ministry that has a mission oriented toward the kind of inclusion Jesus Christ practiced.  I’m so grateful for the Great Cloud of Witnesses who support TCM and ensure its mission lives on to serve college students in Tacoma.

I keep counting down the days until our Full-time Interns arrive and then the days until all of our students return.  It isn’t the same without all of them here!

As I begin this new journey, I have to admit I feel a lot like that shiny, anxious, wide-eyed, and full of hopes gal from fifteen years ago. All that is ahead is unknown and that feels overwhelming today. Perhaps some of you are feeling similarly as a new school year or some other new beginning stares you down. I hope you know you aren’t alone. And I hope the following blessing encourages you and fills you with peace– as it did for me.

For a New Beginning

by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.