seanlunsford.com

Regeneration

For the last few years on our podcast, my friend Elias and I have chosen and discussed yearly themes, inspired by another podcast. An alternative to New Year’s resolutions, they’re basically an idea—typically phrased as “The Year of ______”—intended to be a guiding principle for decisions throughout the year.

I went a bit nerdy with mine this year, landing on The Year of Regeneration—a very intentional Doctor Who reference. The word came to me while watching the first episode of the current season,[1] but it fit very well with the areas and hopes that had been coming to mind while mulling over this year’s theme. In a nutshell, I was looking to:

  • find a healthier work-rest balance; to stay on top of work but avoid crashing into recharge mode so often.
  • maintain and build on the spiritual disciplines that I had started picking up again towards the end of last year—and, having started to sense the beginnings of some spiritual renewal, to do so expectantly.

But in the weeks since picking this word, I’ve come to realize that, as only God can pull off, it’s shaping up to have far more meaning than I was even anticipating.

My church itself seems to also be in the early stages of some sort of renewal. Many in the leadership and the congregation have roles to play in that, but in the last couple months two of mine have solidified. One is taking a seat on the church council, at the request of multiple people, who said they would appreciate my perspective in the council’s discussions and decisions. The other is helping to spearhead the launch of a young adults’ ministry of sorts, building on the organic group that has taken shape since August or so. With these two things—on top of the fruit I’ve seen in my other roles at this church[2]—I had a real sense of calling wash over me during a conversation about all this with my girlfriend a few weeks ago. In a moment, I felt very clearly that I’m meant to be here, right now, for these purposes. And I believe that the regeneration of this church and my own are bound up together. I have this part to play in the church’s, and that in turn will contribute to mine.

There’s another aspect of this that came into focus in that same conversation: regeneration means dying first. It even makes sense in the context of the show that inspired me: the Doctor regenerates because of some would-be-fatal injury. As the old body dies, a new one regenerates from it. This new iteration of the Doctor is very much the same person as all the previous ones, but is also unique in his or her own way. Change comes, but something of the Doctor has to die. It hadn’t occurred to me when I first landed on this theme, but I now fully expect that this year, regeneration will mean the things in me that need to die dying, so that new life can come. Which is not exactly a pleasant thought, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

I don’t know what all this year will hold, but it’s looking to be a trying and rewarding one. Of the themes I’ve set for myself, this is probably my most significant yet. The trick, of course, is following through.

Last year, that afore-mentioned podcast started printing notebooks built around what they’re calling The Theme System. Based on what’s worked well for them, it builds on the concept of the yearly theme, adding ideal outcomes, journaling, and daily themes—basically a checklist of the things by which you want to assess each day. I ordered one when they came back in stock at the beginning of the year, and it just arrived a few days ago. Starting that journal gave me a chance to process through this theme as it stands now, with the extra meaning it has taken on in recent weeks. And a habit of sitting down with a pen, notebook, and this structure will help to keep this more front-of-mind than previous themes were most of the time. I’ve also documented the theme—along with the ideal outcomes, journal prompts, and daily themes I came up with—on a new page of this site, with the intent of keeping this more prominent and hence, more front-of-mind.[3]

But, even more than for those previous themes, I’m approaching the Year of Regeneration prayerfully and expectantly. Because I need to be intentional about it as I make decisions, but ultimately—as with the fruit I’ve already seen—that new life will only come from God.


  1. For the pedants, as British TV, it’s actually the first episode of the series. ↩︎

  2. I’ve been running sound for the Sunday services since my second week here, including working with the building manager to update almost the entire sound system of the center where we and a couple other churches meet. In the second half of last year I finally saw a sound team come together for our church, with four of us on a rotation from week to week. I’ve also been helping with a new website, which went live just last week. ↩︎

  3. I plan on this being a living document that I can keep updated throughout the year, as this theme continues to evolve, and with future themes. ↩︎

seanlunsford.com Has Moved (and so Have I)

I’ve just finished the move I wrote about,[1] so it seems appropriate to officially announce the move of my blog as well, though this new site has been live for a while now.

I’ve been using WordPress since my first post went up on this blog in 2012, but when I launched my other site in 2014 it was using a blogging platform called Ghost and hosted on a server I rent and manage. Pretty much since then I’ve wanted to migrate this blog to Ghost and consolidate both on that same server. But in the past several months I’ve finally made the transition piecemeal, as I’ve had a moment here or there: migrating the old posts and images to a new instance of Ghost, pointing the seanlunsford.com domain name at the new site (and reverting WordPress to the wordpress.com subdomain), and coding a new theme.[2]

The final piece was setting up email subscriptions with Ghost’s subscribers functionality and MailChimp. I didn’t have this last piece in place when I published my last post, so I pushed it live to both sites at the same time. Sometime last week I took a break from moving to get the email piece up and running and migrate email subscribers from the old site,[3] so I can now say that the move is complete.

I do have aspirations of starting to write more often again.[4] So if you want to know when there’s something new, you can get it in your inbox or RSS reader.


  1. Except for those couple pieces of luggage the airline should be bringing by sometime today. ↩︎

  2. I have to say I really like the way it turned out. I used the theme I created and maintain for The Dark Roast as a foundation, but made some visual changes and took cues from what I liked best in my customized WordPress theme. ↩︎

  3. Tinkering with servers and RSS feeds is a nice change from putting stuff into suitcases, boxes, and trash bags. ↩︎

  4. Though they may be no more than aspirations. ↩︎

Eleven Days

Eleven days.

I’m sitting here on top of the chapel, back to one of the pylons, looking out over the drillfield. I can barely see this page to write, let alone legibly.

How many times have I wandered around this drillfield, this campus, at night like this? Seen Burruss Hall all lit up like that, those lamps lining the asphalt footpaths that crisscross the grass, that semicircle of 32 lights on 32 memorial stones? I remember walking around here freshman year, almost eight years ago, missing my home, lamenting on the phone or in my own head, wanting nothing more than to be back overseas.

And now I’m eleven days away from that flight I pined for, that flight leaving America behind for a new life elsewhere in the world. I never imagined then that I would be this torn up about it.

I’m really excited that within two weeks I’ll be on a terrace within sight of at least a small patch of the Mediterranean, with a fresh start and opportunities stretching out before me. Most of what I’m feeling this week—and will be for the next week and a half—is overwhelmed and terrified, as I sprint to the finish line of moving out of my apartment and to another continent. But an undercurrent I’ve been feeling for weeks, for months, ever since I started planning to move somewhere almost a year ago, is sadness. I’ve felt it as I’ve done a lot of things for the last time with friends and with my church. I felt it when I gave my cat away on Saturday, and as my apartment has felt a lot emptier without him. And I’m feeling it now, as I look out over this campus that became home after all. I’m glad I took this moment to walk over here and sit for a while.

I’ve left a lot of pieces of my heart in a lot of homes over the years. And now I’m burying yet another piece in this field. And when the plane lifts off the runway in eleven days, and when I’m sitting on that terrace or walking along the Mediterranean, I’m going to miss the piece of my heart that I left in Blacksburg, Virginia.