Belfast 2020: The “Being” Bucket List (Not to be deterred by Coronavirus)

 

I write from one of my favourite coffee shops in the city centre of Belfast, fleetingly conscious that I’ve used British spelling for two words in my opening sentence. How we find ourselves assimilated in interesting places in this life.

 

It’s nice to see other humans and places open like normal in the midst of coronavirus chaos, amidst fears broiling here in the UK that all normalcy will be shut down at any minute now (with good reason, because plenty of normal institutional and social structures are shutting down by the minute). I’m interested to see how things progress and how distorted normal becomes over the coming days and weeks. Humans are funny things – resilient and excitable at the same time. But this is deviating from what I meant to write about so we’ll leave that here to be continued in person with whoever is interested in engaging further with my uneducated self about all things pandemic.

 

As usual, it’s been way too long since I’ve written anything here and lots of life has bloomed in the meantime. Here’s a quick recap.

 

Last I wrote, I was returning to Belfast after having secured sponsorship from my Edinburgh university for a 2-year start-up visa to stay in the UK and pursue building my nerdy dream of reimagining impact measurement. Securing sponsorship was an edifying and confirming development in the saga and dramatically changed my life trajectory – if that had not happened, I would likely be back in the States right now. Instead, I’m still in the UK waiting for the final decision to be officially made by the Home Office here as to whether my visa application will be approved and I’ll be officially allowed to stay in the country and do life here for the next two years. That decision will hopefully get back to me over the next few weeks and until then, I’m moving forward under a tentative but optimistic assumption that my life will be here in the UK, at least for a while.

 

At the end of February, so two full working weeks ago now, I worked my last day at the 9-5 firm job that had been financially supporting me during my time here in Belfast. That job was an incredible blessing – not only was it a way to provide for myself and develop a community of people alongside whom I had the privilege of doing everyday life, but it provided hugely helpful experience and context in the third sector/sport/development world here in the UK. That context will help me better understand those landscapes as I continue to develop my own project now, which has a lot to do with that world. I was also privileged to be available to fill a gap they had struggled to fill at the time I showed up in Belfast and was able to settle into that space and help alleviate some of the workload during the business of their last few months. It’s as if God knew what He was doing.

 

I’m now engaging in defining what new normal looks like for me here in Belfast – I’m now considering a 2-year scope rather than a 6-month one and will also get to, to a degree, design what life looks like more than I’ve had the luxury of doing in the past. I want to be extremely intentional about doing that well. Over the coming few weeks, I’d like to solidify what my week in/week out may look like and am excited to see how that plays out. There are so many things here that I’d like to be able to invest in and I’m more aware than perhaps ever before that God is inviting me into the process and vulnerability of being invested in as well. That’s daunting and meaningful at once.

 

In one of my last couple posts, I mentioned the “Being” New Year’s resolution idea (contrary to the “Doing” resolution list) and that I would share that. Though this is far from complete and hasn’t gotten concerted consideration yet, here’s the list I’ve come up with so far:

 

  • I want to be the coach that refs pull into a conversation or involve in deliberation for another opinion because they trust in my impartiality and integrity.
  • I want to be the person that reacts to someone blaming me for something without a hint of defensiveness.
  • I want to be rightly confident. I don’t want either a lack of confidence or overblown confidence to mitigate the influence God wants to have through me.
  • I want to be asked to be a mentor someday.
  • I want to be an inviter. I don’t want to feel like I need to cajole people into growth or change (which, could be argued, isn’t very helpful for anyone involved). I want to simply issue meaningful, un-jaded, no-strings-attached invitations.
  • I want to be loved and better understand what that means – and better able to accept and recognise that I am by both God and people.

 

Many of these touch on threads I’ve been learning about over the past weeks/months. I’d love to hear any thoughts – any what does your “Being Bucket List” look like at the moment? Any of you faithful friends that read this and want to chat on the idea more, I’ll probably have a fair amount of quiet time on my hands over the next few weeks if all of the UK (and/or the world) grinds to a halt and the government tells us not to go outside – hit me up. 🙂

 

Alright, love you all and more to come soon. Until next,

 

-LS

 

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