Saturday, October 3

two letters.

An open letter to a friend,
who will inevitably be able to identify herself after reading this post
{though maybe there will be some nuggets for the rest of you} --

I think I understand now, even if it's just a little bit.
It's not like I know everything, and it's not like I didn't notice before.
It's just...
You put me in a reflective mood today.

The way society says "this is your only option, to choose another will never work out."
The way you stood by the wayside when the spotlight was on everyone else.
The way you gave everything you had for a dream that so few other people saw.
The way you waited back and worked doubly hard for half of the applause.
The way you learned lessons from the school of hard knocks instead of professors.
The way you were the consistent one, always there to back people up, because they could always count on you to be around. I can't thank you enough for that, but I also promise to pick up my share of the dependability, the answering of desperate texts, and the offering up of chick-flicks and ice cream.

You dreamed bigger dreams for yourself than we ever imagined, while the rest of us poured ourselves into studying, dreaming of a degree and the 'real world' in which you were already living.

You waited so patiently, served so diligently, planned so wholeheartedly, with so much faith.

Go, pretty girl, chase your dreams. Live the life you have always imagined.
Be vulnerable. Be sassy. Be brave. Be fabulous. Be yourself.
Make a home for yourself wherever your feet carry you -- and may they carry you far.
And know that I will always be waiting for you on our dock, whenever you're ready to come back and visit the place you called home.

An open letter to the rest of humanity,
who sometimes need to be reminded of things
{and props to you if you already know them} --

There is no one way to do things.
There is no one path to life that's cookie cutter fit for everyone.
There isn't a "this is how to make it through your 20's and live a fulfilling life" manual,
because dreams look different for everyone.
So applaud the people whose dreams look different than we expect.
Applaud the people who are doing exactly what you expect.
Better yet, just applaud everyone,
Because literally everyone you meet is fighting battles you will never know the extent of.
And though we deny it, us 20-somethings long to hear "good job," "you're doing it right," and "I'm proud of you" as much as we ever have, if not more.

Be an anchor. Be a place to call home, a place to run to.
But don't sink the ship.
Let go, let us matter how normal or weird launching looks.
Maybe it's what you would do.
Maybe it's something you'd never do.
But it's what we're doing. It's how we're living our own lives.
We're creating beautiful lives, and we'd love to keep you in them, but we're also learning how to let go of everything that holds us back.

Thursday, October 1

Spiritual Life Retreat

This is the highlight of my past week...quite possibly a semester highlight as well.

This is the group of us that went on the 44th annual SLR (spiritual life retreat, although we don't like that name particularly because it makes it sound like all we do is get up early, sit in silence and read our bibles like monks, eat rice and beans, and then have theological conversations long into the night.
Yes, this is a conversation we had.."the connotations of 'SLR'" :)

We took off from campus on friday afternoon, and spent our weekend just doing life together. Worship, meals, four-square, naps, hikes, teeter-totters, homework, devotions, bonfires, canoes, name it.
I got quite a bit of homework done, which was nice, but the fresh air and emotional space were very, very much what I needed.
I didn't know all of these people coming into the weekend. I don't know all of them incredibly well now. But I did get to meet a couple people, and I did get to worship alongside each of them. Stories and testimonies were shared openly, transparently. It was honest and beautiful and probably the most real, grounded weekend I have had in a very long time. I think it was 18 people that ended up being baptized in the lake on Sunday (there may or may not have been tears).

I'm so thankful that I get to call this campus home, that I get to live and learn and worship with these people on a daily basis. I'm glad I was able to go to my second SLR, and I look forward to next year doing the same(: