I made it to reading week. I've felt like I've literally been holding my breath and gripping onto life with every ounce of effort I'm capable of exerting so far in this final year of my program. And so this week is about rest, reorganization, and reflection - the 3 r's of reading week for me!
I have learned what it means to rest - to find space and comfort for myself in solitude and in communion. My hope for this week is to find the beautiful balance between time alone and time with those I love most at this stage in my life... and I'm off to a great start. I am sipping on my favorite coffee blend, listening to a wonderful collection of tunes, collecting my thoughts and giving them life through the movement of my fingers upon this overused keyboard. I am wrapped up in my favorite animal print blanket - one of the first things I bought during our time in Uganda - staring out my favorite window in our apartment. Moses is sitting here with me. We've been through quite a bit together. He has been a part of my journey for 12 years now. He doesn't say much - actually he doesn't say anything at all. Yet, his presence has perhaps been the most consistent aspect of my life as I've journeyed through my early adulthood. It is restful for me to sit here with him right beside me.
Reorganization will come when I begin to feel the need to be productive. It usually consists of cleaning like mad and mapping out the remainder of the term (which means constructing a calendar that outlines what I should be reading and how much of it I should be reading nearly everyday until the end of the term). Organization has always been a way for me to experience some sense of order amidst the chaos of my life -- and God knows I'm in desperate need of some order at this stage of my life as a student, intern, mother, wife and occasional friend (though this area seems to be suffering from the chaos the most).
I have a sense that it is reflection that is most needed this week...and most difficult at the same time. Strange how that is often the case. My brief return to Colorado just over a week ago opened up an awareness of my current state of homelessness that is as equally saddening as it is frightening. It's been over three years since I left the only life I had ever really known in Littleton, Colorado. And I don't think I was prepared for just how much I could change in a relatively short period of time. These last three years have not been normal years - they have been filled with life-altering experiences. From my transition out of my role at WBCC, exposure to the suffering and circumstances of the women and children of Uganda, the six months I spent living with my father (the most time I've ever spent with him consecutively since I was 5 years old), to the revelations discovered about myself and my relationships upon entering into the program at MHGS -- it has been one heck of a roller coaster experience. Much has changed...and much has quite simply only begun to emerge.
Who will I be once I leave this place? What will I do? Who will I be able to connect with? How will I continue to move forward in this process of emerging as a self in order to experience more genuine relationships in all areas of my life? These are the questions swimming around in my head. These are the unknowns that heighten my anxiety. Though my love for those who have been an integral part of my life was felt deeply and perhaps even more intensely than ever before during my brief visit in CO, my rootedness in that community has evidently dissipated.
I feel like this tree that I am staring at just outside my window. It has apparently tried to desperately hold onto the few remaining golden leaves left hanging by a thread. Each time the wind blows, more beautiful glimmering leaves fall to the ground. The leaves that have filled up the life of this tree in the past are coming to their end. But I am afraid of the winter that will certainly approach quickly after all of the leaves have been stripped. But I know that for there to be new life, there must be a certain kind of death. I just hope that I can hold onto the hope of resurrection as the chill of the winter sets in deep within my bones.