If you know anything about me, you know that I love my job. Like, I'm head over heels in love with the work that I get to do. And this has never been more true. I believe in this work wholeheartedly, and I have poured my life into the people of Missouri and the people of Mozambique in service to this ministry.
And so, it is so very bittersweet to let you know that I will be leaving the Mozambique Initiative in July to begin a new position as the Director of the Social Work Program and Assistant Professor at Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee.
This decision comes in the wake of tremendous loss in my life. Many of you know about this journey and have walked beside me in the midst of this grief over the long months. In many ways, my position as the Associate Director of the Mozambique Initiative was the last remaining tie to my old life, and I held onto it with fervor. It was the tie that reminded me who I was and where I came from and what is important in life. It was the tie that held me together because it gave me purpose. But it became glaringly evident that in order to really, truly start over, I had to uproot. It became glaringly evident that even this work that I clung to with white-knuckled desperation had to be set free, with grimy fists slowly pried open to release the last strangled remnants of my old life. Harrow the ground, pull it all up, plow the field, dirty your fingernails, Sarah, get filthy and exhausted tearing it all apart.
And then let it go.
Parker Palmer puts it so eloquently:
The plow has savaged this sweet field
Misshapen clods of earth kicked up
Rocks and twisted roots exposed to view
Last year's growth demolished by the blade.
I have plowed my life this way
Turned over a whole history
Looking for the roots of what went wrong
Until my face is ravaged, furrowed, scarred.
Enough. The job is done.
Whatever's been uprooted, let it be
Seedbed for the growing that's to come.
I plowed to unearth last year's reasons-
The farmer plows to plant a greening season.
Enough. The job is done. The uprooting, the plowing, the harrowing is complete.
I am ravaged. Which means that I am also free.
And so I am walking into this new life unfettered. Filthy but free. Scarred but wiser somehow. It is a great honor to be chosen for this new position and I am looking forward to it with childlike excitement. As the Director of the entire Social Work Program, I will be the professor in charge of raising up new social workers to go start new Mozambique Initiatives, and Malawi Initiatives, and Nepal Initiatives, and North St. Louis Initiatives. I will be inspiring folks to begin new counseling centers, and homeless shelters, and soup kitchens, and orphanages. It's my job to train and ignite those who will walk in these shoes and do an untold number of good deeds in this world. I get to lead them and show them what I know. And I am very excited.
I am grateful to all who have supported me and come alongside me in this work. Those who have traveled next to me on the winding Mozambican paths wedged in overcrowded vehicles. The villagers across the country of Mozambique who have welcomed me in. The women who taught me Xitswa under the shade of mango trees. Those who have made music with me travelling in vans across the state of Missouri and even performing at the US Embassy in Maputo with me. Those who have given me shoulders to lean on. Those who have cried with me. Those who have loved me when I was filthy, broken, free.
This misfit is planting a new field now and is looking forward to the growth that is to come. I would be honored if you would join me on this journey here on my new blog if you're interested. It should be a wild ride!