Four years ago I wrote this. I was getting ready to leave an intensely emotional and life altering experience. At the end of each summer for the past 10 years I have written something similar whether in Xanga, in a journal or on blogger. This summer is no different. It was a different circumstance, sure, but still an emotionally tangled, life altering, soul growing experience with people who I know have a bond that no one else in the world has with them.
Yesterday was our last official day at Bethany. Sunday we will attend all six services and say our goodbyes to the people whom we've gotten to know. Who we've served as chaplains, grandkids, spouses, daughter and son in laws, and friends to. People who we've watched cry, heard amazing war stories of all kinds, and have laughed at. People who you can count on to make you laugh. Memory support patients who take you to the lake to go swimming, take you to puerto rico and back in a day. People who keep their planes out back, and people who make you feel as if your life is a skit, and they have the script but you haven't received your copy yet. People who have made us laugh, and brought us to tears. Made our hearts ache, and made us smile. Who knows if I will ever see Gilbert and his politeness, Janet and her warming smile, Anne and her diabetes curing power, or Alan and his Jose singing again. But you know what? I wouldn't change this summer for anything.
I learned more this summer than I ever in my wildest dreams would have imagined. I learned about myself and how I can do this. I can be a chaplain. I can minister to people even when I feel helpless. I can put on a collar and not feel like I'm playing dress up (even though I definitely have learned at you can minister JUST as effectively cleric or not.). Life altering.
And now, as I try to enjoy my four days of freedom until my two weeks of intense greek happens, I quietly slip back into my role of mama. Of playing and struggles with naps. I'm on the other side of life now, and it is amazing too. I will cherish every moment i have with her, but processing the lives who have touched me this summer is also happening as I'm changing diapers and feeding bottles.
There is so much to be thankful for in this beautiful life.