Today marks two weeks since our Moody season was officially disbanded. The past two weeks have yielded some interesting connections and random opportunities in true life-of-Lauren-Schwaar style. Like stepping stones, just the next few short steps have been revealed so far. Let me fill you in.
First step: In which I am invited to attend a sports mentorship conference in Washington, D.C.
As Moody’s door closed, I once again entered job search mode and kicked it into high gear. As I surfed the web the day after the official decision was announced, I found an interesting article from Argentina inviting sports professionals to apply for admission into a sports mentorship program which would be held in the States for several weeks starting in mid-September. Curious, I looked up the program and wrote a message to the generic catch-all email address included on their website, not expecting to hear anything back. Within several hours, I had received a response from the director of the program saying that she was boarding a plane to Bristol and unable to speak too much but invited me to come to Washington, D.C. in two weeks’ time to meet everyone and watch the program participants’ final presentations sharing their experiences. What?
(I checked my schedule and was able to commit to the trip thanks to its significant disencumberment the day before.)
As an aside, I actually got to meet one of the program’s participants today for lunch here in Chicago. The program places each person with a sports company for a few weeks to learn from, and connect with, American sports professionals. My new friend is a rugby coach from Venezuela who was placed Gatorade’s Chicago headquarters. She and I will meet the rest of the program’s participants back in D.C. as it culminates this coming weekend with their presentations.
Second step: In which I am invited to visit a K-12 boarding school’s girls’ basketball team in Grundy, Virginia
The second day after Moody ended, a second connection materialized.
While in Europe over the summer, a friend there had mentioned a boarding school in Virginia and suggested I look into it. I had read a bit about it on its website at that time but had not been able to make contact while overseas and thus it had moved to the back burner. As my role at Moody dissipated, its name came back to mind and I reached out hoping to get in contact with the athletic staff. I wasn’t able to connect directly but managed to procure an email address to which I wrote a short note.
Back to the second day after Moody. I received a call as I was walking to the subway from the athletic director of said school. In a ten-minute conversation, he shared a bit about his role and the girls’ basketball team, I shared a bit about my experiences and story, and he invited me to visit the school. The invitation was dripping in hospitality – he assured me that I could stay in his family’s home for as long as I wanted to stay. And here’s the final icing-on-the-cake detail: The school is buried deep in the Appalachian mountains on the western side of Virginia and is virtually impossible to reach by public transportation. However, miraculously, God has perfectly aligned the trip to make it possible for me to travel with him and his family both from D.C. to the school and then from the school out again to Ohio (and civilization) on trips they already had planned before any of this came about.
As is becoming more and more normal, both of these trips are short, temporary steps. However, to see these doors so clearly open was incredible. I’m still praying for and pursuing, as I have been for a while now, a place to land and call home. However, that hasn’t yet come through. In the meantime I’ll keep hopping from stone to stone and walking through the open doors God gives. I’ll reach the end of my time here in Chicago on Thursday and then will fly for D.C. and beyond.
Until the next step in this crazy adventure is revealed,