My Mount Moriah Moment: Euchtastrophe

As powerful, memorable, and full of theological significance for life that the afternoon on Lake Michigan was, and continues to be as I reflect on it years later, the “conclusion” of that story was still a little ways off; the euchtastrophe hadn’t ended yet.

That day I felt as if I’d begun to be rescued from a impending doom of self, inevitable if I had continued to hold on  to the dream as my own.  Even things we are given that are good can become warped and twisted and begin to turn us into something we’d rather not be.  I wasn’t totally comfortable with where the future would go – in all honesty – but I knew I’d taken my first step into a larger world, one that needed taking.

A day or two later my Dad arrived to drive me back home to my parent’s house in Canton (I maybe from Canton but don’t call me Jayne).  I don’t recall telling him about what happened on the beach, at least not right away, I didn’t talk much about that at all as I was still trying to make sense of some of it.  Fuller understanding came later (and still does).

Once reestablished at home, I had $100+ in gift certificates to the local Family Christian bookstore (one I worked in my senior year of high school) burning a hole in my pocket.  So my brother dropped me off and I spent the better part of an hour browsing books and music.  It was in the middle of the store, where I spent most of my evenings during senior year, that things began to change.  I still remember kneeling down to browse a ground-level shelf of books near the front of the store when my phone rang.  It was Mom, and she seemed simultaneously excited and slightly mystified.  She explained that a call had come in from a college friend who was interning at a think tank in Washington, DC and that this friend, Joelle McCormick, needed to talk with me soon.

Arriving home, instead of diving into one of the new books that was screaming for attention, I did the responsible thing and called Joelle.  As I listened, she explained that someone at  the think tank she was working for was interested in talking with me, but she couldn’t tell me why.  Nevertheless, she gave me the number and suggested I give it a call in the morning.  So I did…and got voice-mail.  Called again the next day, voice-mail.  I don’t remember how many times I called in the few days after that, but I sunk deep into video games and blogging the events of the summer at Lake Ann Camp to keep my mind distracted.

A few days later the phone rang.  The young woman on the other end explained that she was the internship coordinator at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC.  Hadn’t I applied there earlier this year for their fall semester that was fast approaching?  As I listened, the coordinator explained that they’d like me to work for them in a short-term paid position in the marketing department and I would live in dedicated housing set aside for the fall semester interns.  I was stunned.  Didn’t I need to be interviewed first? Her response was all encompassing: “that’s already been taken care of, you just need to decide yes or no”.  Still speechless.  It took some effort to actually relay the one remaining pertinent question: “how long do I have to decide?”  The answer was a short and simple one: call back tomorrow.  As I hung up the phone, my mind racing with a big decision, I wondered “how do I tell Mom and Dad about this?”

That evening, that came home and I sat them down to tell them what had happened that afternoon.  If I hadn’t already experienced enough irony in recent days, I realized these conversations normally go the other way with the parents sitting the kids down.  I explained the nature of the phone call and the choice I was being offered.  I don’t recall Mom saying much at first, but Dad, ever the wise one, asked the key question:  is this something you’re being called to do.  It was likely then that I explained the events on the beach at the end of summer camp, that this is the day we’d been anticipating for a decade, and having released control of the dream it was being given back to me.  With their blessing, I called back the next day and accepted the position.

A week to ten days later, my Mom and I were on a plane to Washington for a scouting trip, to see where I would be working and living, to see if any accommodations would need to be made.  That weekend, Hurricane Katrina happen along the gulf coast; I’ve never forgotten it.  Nevertheless, it was a successful trip.

A week later – Labor Day weekend 2005 – Dad and I packed up the essentials of my life and – for the first time – drove the ten hours east, through flat land and hills some call mountains, to the nation’s capitol.   I was about to embark on a journey I wasn’t prepared for and didn’t deserve, accepting a position that was – for all intents and purposes – a gift given by someone else, not something I had earned.  To this day I believe it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t wrestled over the dream and relinquished it, kneeling in the sand years ago. This would not be the last time doors for dreams opened that I cannot take credit for; in fact, it was just the start of what has become a pattern in life.

Stay tuned for the Mount Moriah “Skeletor”*…

*Skeletor: the proper term for a post-credits scene in a motion picture (a practice made popular by Marvel Studios comic book movies, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men films, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies).  Masters of the Universe – released in 1987 with Skeletor as the primary villain – was the first film to do this.

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Aaron

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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