This afternoon, I said goodbye to my aunts, uncles, and cousins, who have been such an important part of my life since birth. My relations have always been family, never strangers.
I feel compelled to share my most poignant goodbye. One week ago today, the class of 2012 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church was invited forward for a blessing as we begin our lives in the outer world.
Did I mention the SOTH class of 2012 consists of two people? Friends, family, and mentors laid their hands on Tim and I as our pastor blessed our journeys. Every emotion, laugh, tear, conversation, and God experience that had touched me in the six years I spent at SOTH returned to me. It was the closest I have ever felt to the divine. That bundle of people was so full of love. It didn't matter who was touching who, because Tim and I had our hands on each other. I realized, though my first year away will be difficult, I will never have to say a final goodbye to these people. No one can tear what God has knit together.
After all of this, do I feel ready? Am I ready to experience a disruption so terrible and wonderful that my outlook will be forever changed?
Yes. I'm ready. This is my calling. To delve into another culture, promote understanding, and build relationships beyond borders and beliefs.
Four goodbyes remain. The four I will not contemplate until the last moment. Mom, Dad, Tyler and Griff.
But I am ready.
|My Cousin Sam|
|Laura, Tim, and Sarah...the FCMOD sunglasses!|
|Tim, Jess, Laura, and Marc|
|My Uncle Dave|
|Family: Joe, Stella, Spencer, Me, Ryan, Tyler, Griff, Sophie, Grant, and Danny|
|Sophie, Sarah, and Spencer|
|Marilyn and Roger- The best next door neighbors ever!|
|The UW Girls-- Gabbie and Stefanie|
|My good friend Daniel!|