Kelley’s One Word 2011: Delve


“I discovered my core as I swam into the deep …”

By Kelley Johnson-Nikondeha

Delve … not deep, not dive, but delve.

As I began to handle the word like a smooth pebble in my hand, I noticed what it was and what it was not. Delve is not a destination word. It is a word that has a direction, but requires velocity. Delve is not a resting word. It takes motion–jumping off the boat, breaking the surface, plunging with arms reaching downward, kicking vigorously. Delve is not a quick word, something accomplished in a moment or single action. It is sustained movement, continued momentum on one trajectory. Delve is not about depth as much as about the process of going deep.

In 2011 I have been given a mandate to go deep: to delve into life with effort and passion and hard work. I have been challenged to pursue what God wants for me with discipline, determination and diligence. I have been summoned to delve into His world with all my heart, all my mind, all my strength.

That was then … this is now.

Delve did not turn out like I anticipated. It was not delving deep over a diverse terrain–deep with various endeavors, inner and outer work, with a wide array of friends. Delve was like deep sea diving (from what I have seen courtesy of Jacque Cousteau)–the deeper you go the darker it gets and the fewer species of fish you see. The further down you go, the field becomes more rarified and sparse.

That is how 2011 felt, in retrospect. As I delved, as I kept pressing further down, extemporaneous endeavors were passed and left behind. The deeper I got, the more select the enterprises became. I discovered my core as I swam into the deep–telling stories, engaging in theological reflection about everyday living, pressing in close to select friends. It appears that as I delved, I discovered my core and defined what most energizes me at this stage in my life.

2011 was a great year of discovery and delight!

About Kelley:

Kelley Johnson Nikondeha is co-director of Amahoro Africa and international staff member of Community of Faith with her husband Claude. She’s a thinker, connector, advocate, avid reader and mother of two beautiful children. Kelley lives between Arizona and Burundi. She loves handwritten letters, homemade pesto and anything written by Walter Brueggemann.

Image credit: Diving, by Kriss Szkurlatowski