The other day, I needed to kill time before an event at the Georgia Justice Project down on Edgewood, and I decided to sit by the reflecting pool at the MLK Center. I don’t know how many of you have been before, but Dr. King’s speeches and sermons play on rotation at the pool so you’re constantly surrounded by his voice. As I walked toward the pool, Dr. King was giving the speech he gave in Memphis just before his assassination. The one where he sees the mountaintop. And as I sit down on a bench facing the pool, the audio just silences out of nowhere. I texted Ciara, who I’m sure thought I was kidding instead of being rather superstitious, and asked her what I did to bring about the silence. She said, “Maybe he’s just passing you the mic!”

Now, this will surprise none of you, but I don’t hold Martin Luther King’s microphone. But I think there is a very relatable spirit in that idea. I believe we can imagine, without difficulty, Cesar Chavez or Rachel Carson or Nelson Mandela passing the microphone to those who heard the call. It was the love and the work that gave them vigor, not the soapbox. I wager that each of us will encounter an opportunity to seize the microphone and make known the unknown out of our love and commitment to it.

My problem is that carrying the mic doesn’t really come naturally to me. I got a voicemail from my mother the other day, saying, “Oh, I heard on Facebook that you’re staying in Atlanta another year!” Oof. Or riding in a car with a dear friend last week who asked how the whole “community organizing” thing was going.

If you’re thinking that I should have told these loved ones of mine what is going on in my life, you would be correct. But reconciling the kid who stopped going to church at age 10 with the person in front of you is a muddy process. By now you have heard some about the beautiful, thought-provoking, reflective spaces that our home and workplaces offer. It is one thing to talk about vocation and God and living lives of meaning when your immediate surroundings are structured to facilitate such conversations. It is another thing entirely to relate to your atheist father the significance of that weekend spent hanging out in a monastery.

In spite of all this, a year on The Road has shown me there is so much worth proclaiming—loudly, vibrantly, unabashedly. I want to proclaim the messy splendor of refugee resettlement, I want to proclaim the beauty of young people talking about Jesus on a Friday night, and I want to proclaim the mystery of faith.

But I’m still a little shy, so I signed up for another year. We will check back in then.

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