Monday, August 19, 2013

A Ship In a Harbor Is Safe, But That Is Not What Ships Are Meant For...

Hey there,

   For those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Elie Cahill and I'm about to move to Newcastle, England to serve with YAGM (Young Adults in Global Mission) for a year. I'm connected with the British organization "Time For God" and will be working in the Jesmond Methodist  Church to create a program for college students and young professionals to get involved. I'm excited, I'm terrified, and I'm ready to begin this new chapter of my life.

   A little background on who I am and how I got here...I grew up in Vail, Colorado in the same house with the same friends my whole life; so it's safe to say I am not very familiar with change as I step into this new adventure.  But I graduated from Gonzaga University this spring and have always wanted to travel and live abroad, so this opportunity was definitely one I could not pass up (especially considering youth ministry has always been a strong focus for me). I spent the summer working as a travel director at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp in the mountains of Colorado and am now beginning my YAGM experience with orientation in Chicago.
   In my final week at camp with some amazing family campers, a tight staff, and in entering this year here in Chicago after saying some difficult goodbyes, I am attempting to prepare and understand what this next chapter of my life means for me.  Some people have referred to this year as escaping the real world or putting my life on hold for a bit, and although I get the perk of putting my student loans on hold, this year is no pause for me. My roommates gave me a journal for graduation that has "life is like riding a bicycle, in order to keep your balance you must keep moving" printing on front, and that is the best way I can look at this next year.  I am not taking a break from life, but just getting started and am so glad to know I have such great family and friend support on this ride.

   I titled my blog in honor of the advice our camp director offers campers each week of the summer: that a ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are meant for...this could not be more true for me.  I find such comfort in home and my familiar spaces. I find confidence in who I am in that comfort, and in those places, and in the relationships I am leaving here in the states.  It is this confidence and this identity that has brought me to this opportunity and this identity I must bring out of my harbor and on to my next year. While, at the same time, I must open up this understanding of self and comfort to be positively changed by this experience and the new relationships I will be creating.
    Just the other day in one of our orientation sessions we spoke of being in a year of service under the idea of servanthood as becoming available and vulnerable to those we encounter. Not a year to "fix" or "improve," but to serve our new communities by becoming open and vulnerable to what this year can be and to what God will have us be for those we meet.

   So I want to thank you, whoever you may be, for joining me in my beginning.  Thank you for walking with me, not on a fun "Euro-trip," but in my life.  Who knows what will happen, who knows how I will feel in one year from now, but I will be open, I will be vulnerable, and I will keep cycling.

This ship is setting sail and headed East!


  1. So excited for you Elie! Enjoy this amazing journey of self discovery!

  2. Thinkin about you Elenerd! You're amazing! Have fun!

  3. Woah, that is gonna be awesome. I'll be praying for you!

  4. Good Luck Elie! What an amazing opportunity for you.