What an interesting year. I have learned a lot and have grown a lot. I am not entirely sure what to say. I wrote a poem about the Belfry that I would like to share.

 

Doubt

The music of worship inside the Belfry

Echoes through the walls

And tries to wring out the doubt inside me

 

And all the while I find

the weight of the threshold

bearing down on top of me

 

But the inescapable boundary

of my own predicament alludes my efforts

despite the change of scenery

 

Regardless of this door or the next

The uncertainty plagues my mind

And I wander aimlessly

 

The fear which resides inside my head

remains in control

while hesitation follows every step

 

The songs still sing

And the next day

Less will ring

I found myself doubting less. I am not entirely sure of the changes that took place within me, or if anything truly changed, expect for that. Which isn’t a bad thing, getting over doubt is a big deal, doubt seizes upon us and wrestles our dreams away. It can freeze us and keep stagnant all that we hope to accomplish. So for me, while I might not have accomplished a lot in terms of number of accomplishments, I definitely accomplished the one that counts.

I also met an amazing woman named Megan this year. She is so great! Even though we are moving apart (me back to Minnesota, her to Livermore) we will continue to date. I hope in about a year we can move in together, either after I am in grad school, or she is back in grad school. Although California is nice, I don’t know if I want to make a life here, I would rather move to Oregon or Washington. California really is too hot for me. It is always hot. But being with Megan this last year has made it not just bearable but enjoyable. I am seriously going to miss our movie/tv marathons, and our late night talks. Waking up on Saturday mornings and smelling pancakes she is making in the kitchen, or really just her nervous laugh whenever I do something embarrassing. Sometimes I just like to look at her until she turns all red in the face and has to hide.

But I am also looking forward to our numerous Skype dates and late night phone calls. Or early afternoon for her really, we plan on skyping while we both go to Applebee’s and eat dinner together. Maybe it is sappy I don’t know, and I certainly don’t care. I will miss her a lot.

I am going to miss my housemates a lot too. All of them. Lewis I am going to miss a lot, he was my first roommate I ever had, and just a down to earth guy. Truly a remarkable person, and I believe he will do great things in the future, I hope he makes a career out of social work, I think he would be great at it. Alexander is also a standup guy, and I am so excited for him to go to Spain next year. It will be such an excellent experience. Leo, is such a good guy too, everyone really was great. I hope I get to see Leo again not too far into the future. Allyson was a really great friend as well, she was sort of a match maker for me and Megan, I remember her giving me some advice, don’t recall exactly what it was but it worked! And she told me how she told Megan, to just go kiss him, and Megan just blushed horribly! So funny, but Allyson is incredibly funny. I hope to see her in a blockbuster pretty soon! You hear me Allyson? LOL

I am excited to see Minnesota though. GOD I MISS THAT FROZEN TUNDRA. . . no really. Did I mention how hot it is here? I want to see Minnesota, and I want to see my family again. My mom and her sister are driving out here to pick me up, and then we turn around and go back, something like 1 whole week in a car! So much fun! Road trips are the best.

We are going to go through Yellowstone national park. I was there when I was 6, but the only thing I remember was the buffalo. And old faithful. I am excited to see it again and maybe catch a buffalo. Or see that super volcano that supposedly is due for a major eruption any day now.

I guess some advice I would give to the next group would be to keep the kitchen clean. If the kitchen is clean everyone is happy. It is the main reason for disagreement I found, so just be really as proactive as possible. The couch folds out; it makes life so much easier, because everyone can just cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie together. The tiger painting with duct tape is mine, you can do with it what you want. I think it looks great. I would also say carpooling is ok, but taking the bus is more fun, at least try it. Get a laundry schedule, you don’t want to have to go to work in smelly clothes because someone else got into the laundry first. Be mindful of the air-conditioning. It gets pretty easy to make the two rooms on the main floor super cold. A few times people got some sniffles because of it.

Grilling out is a lot of fun, consider it for your next family meal plan.

Coordinate your time off with each other, so that way you can do fun stuff like road trips. I never got to but I really wanted to. Do not be afraid of sharing food, one of the best ways to make it trough the year is by sharing some food. You can buy more food collectively than separately. And be mindful of what you buy. Do you REALLY need that $6 coffee from Peet’s? Or would you rather have food for two more days? That sort of stuff.

So with my final remarks I would say to the next incoming LEVN volunteers, have fun, try new things, go boldly.

-Jon

The Belfry

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral