On Facebook these past few days, a new trend has hit about posting a picture from 10 years ago and from now. It’s called “The Decade Trend.” At first I wasn’t going to play because I don’t know that I need to put that out there on Facebook. If people really want to see me a decade ago, happy scrolling through pics. Each day I see more and more people posting pics from 10 years ago and today. For the most part, people have been posting what has changed or bettered in them in the 10 years. I am not sure why it is now that this is being called to attention or why it appeals so much for us to reflect. It isn’t the new year…it will soon be a decade change but why in the 9s? There is stuff like this that surfaces all the time so maybe its just that. Although I do recognize that I get a bit more reflective in the fall season and as we move into winter. I guess we see things die away and it makes us think about all that has gone before us as we prepare for the new year.
In the church world, this week is the last week of the year. The new year begins on Sunday with the first official Sunday of Advent. There is something to that changing of seasons that comes even before Jan. 1.
So here it is, my decade challenge pictures. The first pic is of me at my brother’s wedding in 2009 and the other pic is of me just a few months ago. And whether I like it or not lately I have become so very reflective on how the past few years have changed me and there is so much more change over the past 10 years. 10 years is quite a while! And yet in the scheme of things it is nothing at all in some ways.
Ten years ago, I was a newish clergy person serving as the associate pastor in Corvallis, Oregon. I had already been serving under appointment for three years and had just been ordained officially in 2009. I had already been through some rough stuff in the church and was learning more and more about myself in the world. I had officially come out a few years before this picture but not really out to the world until just about 2009 after exploring and processing and learning and in my first truly serious relationship with someone. I was just learning truly and fully my identity as a pastor in the world as well. So many identities to embrace during that time. Little did I know about what was to come over the next 10 years in ministry, moves, heartbreak and falling in love again, walking, in praying and my relationship with the divine, in moving again and moving into different worlds…about completely losing myself and finding myself again, a stronger self…about my identity being embraced and lived into and then going through the processes again of what that means…
In the picture from this year I still see me but with more grey streaks and lines forming around my eyes. I see experience taking some toll but still my eyes shine bright. I still see joy but with a bit more wisdom about what resides behind our experiences. I am definitely more confident in who I am now and embrace more fully who I have become. I am in a better relationship with my body and my heart. I like who I am most of the time and lean into the places that I still find rough. I am less anxious about what happens in the day to day but value what comes along my way a little bit more too. I am probably more cautious with my heart but also more open to letting go of expectations about what I thought would be at this point because who knows.
Ok, so perhaps the decade thing is a good exercise once in a while….:)