I had intended to write this yesterday, but Wednesday is pretty much my hardest and longest day of the week. Also, I had a STATS quiz that I was super anxious about. But it's over and I feel confident about my work on it!
One full year ago, yesterday, I first met Dan Wahlgren, and his daughter Emmie. They would eventually become my employer, and dear friend, respectively.
When my big brother said "Let's go to Bible Study", I had no clue that night would completely change my planned trajectory for my life. I had figured I would hear some cool stuff about the Christian walk from a couple of learned men, and I was looking forward to meeting some of my brother's friends.
I had no idea that those people would become my friends too, one day.
At the beginning of the two Bible studies we attended that night, Dan presented Table in the Wilderness. He was recruiting Summer Staff and "looking for students who can give a Summer to God". I remember him advertising the opportunity and thinking "This sounds cool, but I'm not a student." After the first intro I knew I had to, at least, go to their little table and get information, I made sure the interaction was brief. I didn't want to commit to anything yet. Throughout the Bible Study something weighed heavier and heavier on me, until I got up, got an application, and filled it out during the second Bible Study. Hearing Dan's spiel a second time was pretty convincing as well.
When I brought the application back, we had a brief conversation about who I was. He invited me to come up to Camp the next day and meet with him and his wife.
So, a year ago today I went to Table in the Wilderness for the first time. My jaw basically became unhinged as I made my way up the now-familiar Highway 130, and into the Snowies. I kept taking pictures and nearly wrecking while doing so. I was ELATED. I was nearly in tears it was so beautiful. I was enchanted by the quaintness of Centennial (still am, actually).
I believe I met Nate first, as I tried to find my way around the Lodge. He took me to the Office and I met Sandra for the first time. She would eventually become one of the most vital pieces in my growth process of this Summer, and I would end up referring to her as our Camp-Mom.
Over the next hour we had my "interview". Technically it was an interview, but really it felt like a conversation about life, faith, and Christ with old friends.
They would offer me the position on the spot, with the wise words of "Do not give us an answer yet. Go home, pray about it, talk it over with your boyfriend and your family, and give us an answer in a week. Just let us know that you made it home safely."
A week later I would give them my answer.
I am struggling to put into words just how surreal it is to think about my life and where I was one full year ago.
When I think about all the relationships I am establishing and cultivating here in Laramie...I am staggered to think of a life without these people. A life not here. A life back in Ohio, doing whatever it is I'd be doing now. It's almost entertaining to try and imagine myself back in Ohio, because, well, I CAN'T. I can barely even picture it.
I could sit here and list the dozens of people I've met since I moved here, but it would be a little pointless. Those names would mean little to most of you. But each and every one means something significant to me, because each one is like a constellation pointing to Polaris - and Polaris is the reason I'm here.
Each connection I've established is the reason I'm here.
Every opportunity to love someone and share life with them is the reason I moved to Laramie.
Every chance to serve and lay down my life is the point of me moving here.
Now, this isn't to say that God wouldn't be using if I'd never come here. But for whatever unknown millions of reasons, He sees it best for me to serve here.
This also isn't to say that any of relationships back in Ohio were or are pointless or fruitless. I do my best to stay in contact with people from home, whether it's through this blog, or social media, or texting, or occasional phone calls.
Sure. I get home sick sometimes. There are Sunday mornings that I wake up and want nothing more than to be reunited with my family at Indianola Church of Christ. But day by day, bit by bit, God is continuing to open my heart to become a family member here. He's holding my hand and guiding me through the process of being here, and making my home here. I don't know how long my home will be here. I don't know for how much of our lives Kitty and I will reside here.
For right now, we are here and we do our best to make the very most of it.
Thank you, to each and everyone of you who has ever loved me, believed in me, and supported me. I wouldn't be here without YOU.