2016. / by Sarah Schwartz

At the beginning of 2016, I spent a sub zero weekend in Minnesota, because love is weird, and it demands that we give weight to our words with our hands and our feet and our presence.

I welcomed 25 with the confession that the first half of my twenties have been hard—but that the hard years have not been without provision, and the hard years will not last forever.

On Valentine's Day, my friends and I raised our glasses to those who have loved and lost us, wishing them well, wherever they were, hoping that they, too, were surrounded by friends that night.

I wrote of the long line of remarkable women from which I come, a reminder that I’m not fighting to be a beautiful and powerful and respectable human person; I already am. We already are.

My Grandparents sold the little house in the desert, graciously giving me several pieces of furniture that once adorned it's rooms, and I laughed at the poetry of taking pieces of that wild and terrible and wonderful summer with me into the future.

As a celebration of Women's History Month, the incredible Emily Joy captured the fear so many of us carry, of being simultaneously too much, and yet not enough. Too loud, too opinionated, too stubborn, too angry, too sad–not quiet enough, not submissive enough, not pliable enough.

I sobbed in my California kitchen and took shots of whiskey with my best friends at the news that my sweet Grandpa, with whom I shared a home for 18 years, and whose childhood bedroom I called mine 70 years after he called it his, was dying.

I revisited a piece I originally wrote as a celebration of Sarah Bessey's Jesus Feminist, on the radical nature of Jesus' Kingdom, where enemies become friends, God becomes man, the dead sit up and talk—the last are first, the poor are blessed, and the person who gives everything away gains it all in the end.

I had the honor of helping put together Biola University's Sexual Violence Prevention Week, featuring Eugene Hung of Feminist Asian Dad and activist Amy Buckley. (If you are a survivor of sexual assault in need of resources, please click here for confidential and swift support.)

I had the privilege of preaching at The Table Church in Washington DC, a community of "people who desire to look more like Jesus and join God in the renewal of all things."

In a, you-wouldn't-believe-it-if-I-told-you unfolding of events, I was offered the job of my right now dreams, and received word that my master's program is reducing it's number of required classes, moving graduation from something I thought would happen on the 12th of never, to something I can practically taste. (Seriously. Both of those things happened.)

I had coffee with an old friend, and I think I can tell you now how it feels when a wound turns into a scar.

I cried in the aisle seat of a Los Angeles bound plane for the flesh and blood image bearers who have repeatedly been disparaged and debased in the public square this year, and for the ways the gospel has been bastardized to support the injuring of the vulnerable.

My friend Ellie Hughes of Selflessy Styled shared the why behind her passion for ethical fashion. (This is my project for the new year---no more clothes made by slaves. Join me!)

The thing we were all pretty sure wouldn't happen, happened, and the grief nearly knocked me over. But it also inspired me to get to work, and I hope you will, too.

In 2016, I did my best to live a life of small faithfulness followed by small faithfulness, to love my people, to cause some trouble, and to be kind, even to myself. As always, thank you, dear reader, for being along for the ride.

Until next year, I'll leave you with the words of Chinaka Hodge, and her magnificent original poem, "What will you tell your daughters about 2016?

"When she asks you of this year, your daughter, whether your offspring or heir to your triumph, from her comforted side of history teetering towards woman, she will wonder and ask voraciously, though she cannot fathom your sacrifice, she will hold your estimation of it holy, curiously probing, 'Where were you? Did you fight? Were you fearful or fearsome? What colored the walls of your regret? What did you do for women in the year it was time? This path you made for me, which bones had to break?'"




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