Dear Shannon Letter 1

Dear Shannon,

I have wondered where to start this story, where is the beginning? Each time I think I know, upon further reflection I realize it started even earlier than I thought…. Until we have gone waaaayyyy back to when I was about 5. We moved out to Ashburn, Virginia (the place you first called home) and there was truly not much there. It was us and the deer… the open fields… oh and one little store (now a favorite BBQ joint of Dad’s) for purchasing milk and live bait and rent your movies. It was quite the small town feel. But the thing was even then there was the promise of more… the possibility of creating and building… you could see the blank canvas and what the future could hold.

Partlow’s Country Store turned BBQ Joint June 2021

One very specific creation I witnessed growing up in a place that was so new was the development of our parish, Saint Theresa. When we first attended mass it was at a number of unique places: high school gym and auditorium, at a little country church that was not even Catholic but allowed us to borrow their building, and for the big holidays in the local beautiful hotel. It would be years until it had a school building and another set of years before a church. But from the start it had a little following… a community …. that believed in what it could be… how it could grow… what it would become. To some, they may have thought it was distracting to go to mass in all this different locations versus the traditional church setting. But to me it was proof that something does not have to exist as it is “supposed to” to determine what it will become. I watched struggle and hard work and dedication and unbridled passion that came in all shapes and sizes (it takes people with all different skill sets to create a a church) giving what they could to build up our Catholic family in Ashburn. And at that young age of 7 or so…. I learned the first and perhaps most important lesson in possibility: don’t worry about what it looks like, just have faith for what it could be and don’t stop walking towards it. Now an incredibly beautiful Catholic Church is in Ashburn.

Saint Theresa is now an incredibly beautiful church March 2020

Possibility…. seeing what isn’t there and imagining what could be. Looking at the difficult challenges and imaging life on the other side. Seeking truth that through faith and God what is hard, what is broken, what is weak can be survived, fixed and made strong. Possibility has been the fuel of my life. In adulthood it has felt like a choice, but with the telling of this story I realize that possibility was something I was exposed to very early on and a lesson I very clearly was receptive too. The belief I have in possibility and the desire I have to chase it is in my bones. Giving up is not something I am comfortable with and letting go of visions is a challenge. As my life walk has continued there have been moments I have regret over these feelings: if I did not believe in something so very hard, I may not have been so disappointed when it fell apart. But overall, my life’s dedication to possibility has been the most powerful gift that led me to each of my joys…. to your dad… to you…. and so my love, I say believe in the power of possibility. I did and it changed my life. 

Love to you my Shannon Girl,

2 thoughts on “Dear Shannon Letter 1

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