It doesn’t seem like too long ago that I was just arriving on this island. Scared, jet lagged, and having NO clue what exactly I was in for. The road hasn’t been easy, and it’s constantly challenged me to learn more about myself and EVERYONE around me. I never thought I’d learn so much about the HUGE world outside of little ‘ole North Carolina.
Last week the UK YAGMs went to our “closing retreat” and Cliff Graduation ceremony. And I couldn’t help but think to myself…”HEY MOM, I’M FINALLY GRADUATING,” when i received my certificate for the class we took. hah. But, seriously..we talked about transitioning into home, said goodbye to each other, to TfG, and started the process of saying goodbye to our new found home.
I said goodbye to some of the best friends i’ve ever made. My friends for life and new family. Words can’t describe how much each one of them means to me. I said I wouldn’t cry, and I wouldn’t write something uber cheesy…yet here I sit. Writing with a tissue box right next to me. Who am I again? I think I ask that question a lot. To each one of you amazing individuals: you have showed me what it means to really have great friends, and I appreciate every. single. one. of. you
OK, and since I haven’t written a lot this year like promised, I figured I’d give you a little insight on my journey thus far..but it’s a little hard to put into amazing, prolific writing. So just…. take what you will from it:
When I started this whole year I know I was running from something. Maybe myself? Who knows..But I do know that I ran right smack into a wall. I came into this feeling like I deserved something more, or something…insightful, but I just brought all my “rubbish” with me, so to speak..and this whole year I’ve been trying to figure it all out. But let me just say life is ONE HUGE SERIES OF QUESTIONS. At some point, probably later than I should have, I learned to stop asking so many questions and just be in the moment…Even when it’s the hardest thing i’ve had to do.
In the moments I’ve spent here since, I’ve opened my eyes to an amazing group of kids I work with, wonderful congregation members, and a team of vicars who have showed me what an amazing place I’m in. I can’t help but sit here and be thankful for every moment, and every lesson i’ve learned….because let’s face it: i’m unbelievably stubborn. So, none of it came easy. In the difficult times, when it was hard to find joy…I somehow learned how to dig deep enough to see something good in every situation I’ve been in. Now I can say I’ve come out of this at the other end. With an amazing feeling of accomplishment, sense of self-worth, and an even BIGGER sense of adventure. So, with that said I can’t WAIT to see what’s next for me.
As for that endless stream of questions: I hope I always have questions. I hope I am constantly searching to please, help, and love. The moment I, as a follower of Christ, stop asking questions and feel that I have it all figured out…I will be worried. So I hope that never happens. I hope when I get the answer to one question, 100 more will follow that I can TRY to find the answers to. Because, let’s face it…that’s the magic of life and God. Faith is resting in the questions, trusting, and the constant seeking of something more to aim towards. I pray for another adventure to follow the last. I don’t want to ever lose that.
Here’s a prayer that’s really hit home for me in these last few months of being in this place:
“O Lord God, I have no idea where I’m going, I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think I’m following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact plea you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire to please you. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always. Though I may seem to be lost, and in the shadow of death…I will not fear, for you ate ever with me. And you will never leave me to make my journey alone.” -Thomas Merton