I remember seeing John Van Deusen from The Lonely Forest play at the Fremont Abbey for the Winter Round in 2009 (how many proper nouns can you fit in one sentence?). When talking about documenting an aid trip overseas, he said a girl came up to him and said something like, "with that camera in your hand you could feed me for a year." He talked about wrestling with a conundrum I have felt recently - the use of assets in addressing the immediate need of the person in front of him. The discussion posed many questions to me - What is the best use of your time? Money? What are you doing?
The Fremont Abbey has been a place of such revelations for me. Whether attending a First Aid Arts training, opening for Joy Kills Sorrow, listening to Damien Jurado play songs off a new record, friends' weddings, or the countless shows over the years (Jonathan Russell, Sarah Kay, Jon Sands, Karen Finneyfrock, Daniel Blue, Hannalee, Kaylee Cole... I could go on), The Abbey has been a space of transformation for me. It has been an honor to take part in a few of the Rounds, and this August 9 will be my last one for a while. I can't think of a better way to leave artistically and am grateful for the chance to join the bill.
Going back to Van Deusen's questions, one thing I'll do at this Round is share about the Hope Academy, the school that friends, teachers, and social workers are starting in Lebanon this fall. I have always hoped to live with purpose, and this next chapter feels very much like a continuation of relationships and calling of the last several years. I've made a lot of mistakes, and the moments when my agenda got pushed to the side for the sake of a greater good have led to some of the sweetest memories. These experiences of the last eight years, learning to "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with [my] God." (Micah 6:8) through my teaching role at The Northwest School, growing with Mosaic Community Church, studying education at the University of Washington, playing with Jubilee, witnessing the inception of First Aid Arts, and on - these gifts have prepared me for this next moment. No better, just new. This time last year I could not have known this moment. It wasn't time yet.
August 9 feels to me like many things coming full circle in Seattle. I do hope you'll join. But more importantly, I hope you'll think of your neighbor, ask what love looks like today, and jump in.