Time

Lately, I’ve been concerned with my time. Am I using it wisely? Should I be doing more it? How else could I be spending my time? Traditionally, summers have been a time of complete relaxation and laziness, with almost no responsibilities. Now, I spend my days either working or running errands on my days off. My summer has an unfamiliar rhythm to it.

This new rhythm has caused me to question whether or not I am using my time well. Even though now, I am doing far more with my time than I have during any previous summer vacations, I still feel as if I might not be doing enough. Logically, this makes no sense. However, there is still a part of me that wonders, should I be doing more?

As this summer progresses, I hope to have an answer to this question, or at least have a bit more peace with not knowing the answer.

Gifts

This morning the interns had a class with a local pastor about spiritual gifts. In our discussion, a phrase was brought up that summed up much of our conversation well. It’s about the Giver, and not the gift. The Giver, of course is Christ. In the context of spiritual gifts, this is an important concept to grasp, as it creates a mindset oriented towards God, and not towards the individual who possesses a spiritual gift, or the gift itself.

I see this idea of orienting oneself to Christ, and not towards the spiritual gift itself to be applicable in many other facets of life as well. All gifts I receive from God are not meant to be a boost towards my own personal power or ego, but as a reminder of the power and grace of Christ. The simplicity of the phrase “it’s about the Giver, and not the gift” is a wonderful reminder of how I should be living out my life, in reverence to God, and not to the gifts that I have been given.

El Anatsui

Anatsui
“Earth’s Skin” (2007). Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Today, I’ve had El Anatsui’s work on my mind. Anatsui, a Ghanaian artist based out of Nigeria who is best known for his work with repurposed metal bottle tops. Out of these bottle tops he creates massive hangings emulative of traditional Kente cloths.

These works of art are only made possible through the reshaping and fusing together of individual bottle tops, removing them from their previous contexts and repurposing them into a work of art. The transformation that takes place reminds me of the countless individuals who have come together in ministry, serving the Lord. Each of these individuals are like a single bottle top. Once they come together, a web of connectivity and community is created that is just as beautiful as one of Anatsui’s works.

So Many Treats

Today is my third day of orientation, and since being in the office I’ve had Jordanian cookies, escargot, and a Cookout milkshake. Nobody told me this internship included an education in global cuisine.

While I did enjoy eating all of these different treats (yes, even the escargot), the most wonderful aspect of these gastronomic experiences was not the food itself, but the company and conversation that accompanied them. The Jordanian cookies were passed around the office and eaten throughout my first day, giving me opportunities to engage in  “get to know you” conversations with some of my new coworkers. I ate escargot during lunch with the other interns, where we bonded over our most embarrassing moments. We got Cookout milkshakes directly after our snail-filled lunch as we began a tour of Richmond. Even though I have lived in this city for almost a year, there were still stops on the tour that I had never seen before!

Throughout all of these meals, I have been struck by the community that exists within this office. Sharing meals (and desserts) together has given me just a small glimpse into the lives of my new coworkers. I know that this is only the beginning of lunches like this, and I expect that over the course of my internship I will share many more food-based experiences with the office, each of which I’m sure will be even more enlightening than the last. I have always thought of food as one of the best vehicles for conversation, and these past few days have strengthened my belief in that.