So. Here we are. I have only about a month and a half left in New Orleans. I can barely, barely believe it. It hit me today like a bullet to the temple. I was just typing up the bulletin at Faith Pres when all of a sudden, I realized how soon I was going to be gone and how much I am going to miss New Orleans. I have met so many beautiful people. This city has captured me with its spirit of resilience and its outpouring of love.
I have been focused on going home, having my own bedroom/bathroom, seeing old friends, seeing my parents, and figuring out the next step. I have been dealing with a lot of conflicts lately and have lost my grip on the bigger picture.
Today, I can feel the sharp pain of goodbye shooting up my limbs, spreading across my heart as the weeks burn away quickly like wax dripping down a candle. I’ve had to say goodbye many times in my life. When I left high school, I said goodbye to friends, family, and my comfortable child life. At the end of the summer when I worked at Ghost Ranch, I had to say goodbye to the breathtaking, open desert landscape and the awesome group of people I had met there. When I graduated college, I had to say goodbye to four years of amazing times with amazing friends. But saying goodbye to this city, this experience, these people…it shakes me harder than I thought it ever would.
I have started to reflect on this year and what it means. The next month will be full of goodbye parties, closing events, last days. I don’t want to get caught in the whirlwind of last times/goodbyes/endings but rather hold on to everything that I have become while here. I must look at these people for who they are and what they’ve given me. I’ve been pulled out of my comfort zone. I’ve been challenged. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I’ve had plenty of bad days, plenty of situations I could have handled better. I’ve been a bad roommate at times. I haven’t been super YAV. I’ve gotten frustrated. I’ve lost my way. BUT, I’ve also had some incredible adventures, laughed until I cried, ate some amazing food, given back in various forms of service to the city, learned so much about myself and that crazy thing we call life, and formed irreplaceable relationships with people who know the definition of what it means to be radiant and alive. I’ve seen the way the people of this city celebrate brokenness, wear it like a beautiful crown instead of a scar. I am inspired.
I will be honest. I don’t have the next step figured out. It doesn’t mean I am lost. I am still afraid, and my humanity shines through every crack. But I am a better, stronger person after being here. I feel like my heart has been rewired, my eyes washed clean, my mind made afresh. Saying goodbye will be difficult, but all I can do now is truly enjoy my last few weeks here and let these people know that they have changed me, left a permanent mark on my heart. There is no time for getting tangled in petty arguments or worrying about the small stuff. There is only time for love, for thankfulness, for looking around me not with my human eyes, but through God’s lens and seeing the Belovedness that is in everyone.
“Time is lost when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavor, enjoyment, and suffering.”
“Surrender all your battles. It’s only love that makes us matter.”
Bless you all.