As I rode the “El” train into work this morning, it finally hit me- today is your last day at the ELCA. All I could then think was- where did the time go?

Although I knew from the beginning this time spent at the ELCA churchwide offices would come to an end, I just didn’t expect the time to go by so…FAST!

I can tell you how my time was spent while I was interning for ELCA World Hunger- writing memos and letters, going to the Global Mission Event in Wisconsin and the Hunger Leaders Gathering in Colorado, figuring out Facebook and other social networking sites, learning about ELCA World Hunger and all of its good work in the world, getting to know the ELCA World Hunger staff, and becoming great friends with the two other World Hunger Interns- but this, is just what I did professionally.

I can also tell you how I spent my time outside of the ELCA. I had a glorious time exploring Chicago and its various neighborhoods, I loved living in the suburbs and in Oak Park, I read a lot of books (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Siddhartha, Health Economics: Theories, Insights, and Industry Studies, the Bible (not completely), Our Day to End Poverty, and the Coming Plague), my boyfriend came to visit, I saw two friends from the past, and fell in love with all of the wonderful museums and public art Chicago has to offer. But this is just what I did in my personal time.

Then time also passed outside of my realm and will forever be marked in history books as the summer that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’ took home eight gold medals (the most gold medals won in the history of the Olympics), the presumptive presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain petitioned their way into the hearts of the American people, and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt received $14 million for selling the pictures of their newborn twins. I am glad I will always have the Jolie-Pitt twins to remind me of my summer at the ELCA (just kidding).

But what cannot be captured in time is the individual and spiritual growth I experienced this summer. It is this growth that I cannot put into the framework of time; it is even hard to encapsulate using words. The funny thing is, I consider myself a woman of many words and talking for hours on end comes naturally, yet, I cannot articulate all that I have seen, experienced, and felt this summer. Perhaps it is because it still too new and I am not sure how this experience will propel my life. Though I do know change occurred.

I can see this change in the way I: read the newspaper, consume products, view structural policies, question business interests and motives, get angry about world situations, view myself, understand my vocation, want to live out my call, and see how I can help change the world. I feel as though I see the world in a new lens, one that is a bit more attuned to reality and wanting to uncover “the mess”.

I owe my gratitude for this change to my time spent here in ELCA World Hunger. For without this internship opportunity, I could not have had the experiences I had or met the incredible people I had the chance to get to know.

Though the words to explain this summer experience have not been formulated, I do have clarity to what the next steps in my life I must take and the fact hat I must keep living my life with my eyes open with optimism and hope in my heart.