This reality hit me quite hard a few days ago.
It's May, and with May comes so many events... 1. Saying goodbye to many of my dear volunteer friends and housemates. 2. Graduation & Saying goodbye to the wonderful seniors and fabulous underclass students I will be leaving. 3. Saying goodbye to the 30+ faculty I have come to love here at Red Cloud. 4. Saying goodbye to my sister who will be moving to Japan.
The common thread is saying goodbye, which is one of the most difficult moments in life for me. I know that I have been processing this transition for months now, and I anticipate that I will be as ready as I can be- but the moment of goodbye is excruciatingly painful- albeit relatively brief- and I never look forward to its arrival.
I have grown so much in my two years of life here among many faithful Lakota friends, Jesuits, volunteers, and students. Honestly my growth has been extremely relational, which is why ending the relationships as I now know them will be the hardest part of my end here at Red Cloud. I will miss the freedom of my position here, but not as much as the students who delight me with their presence. I will miss my living conditions, but not as much as I miss the gracious folks who taught me to be a better, more sincere housemate. I will miss the Lakota traditions, practices, and language- but not as much as I lament the loss of daily presence among my good Lakota friends.
I am also experiencing such a contrast of feelings, since I am thoroughly excited for my future- the craziness of a summer spent in many places- and getting to meet my first niece and spend the first 7 weeks of her life by her side. I am also highly anticipating my new experiences at Princeton Seminary in the fall; however, I know the transition to student life will be a bit tough at first, and I will dearly miss the start of school here at Red Cloud. All things considered (like the NPR radio program!) :):) I will be grounded in joy and thanksgiving through every change, but I hope to be open to feeling the totality of my emotions, as I believe that is the best medicine for change.
My life is also taking on new direction since being in relationship with AJ Munger. I have been learning so much about being a supportive, fun, and sincere girlfriend (and a LOT about how I need to grow yet as a person). I have also learned the many differences between males and females! :):) Now, if you know me at all, you will agree that I am a proponent of seeing the commonalities between genders. Lets just say this relationship has been a bit of a reality check, coming to understand that despite the many similarities, some differences definitely stand out more than I was previously willing to admit! :) This new dimension in my life will also be helpful through other changes, as I know that AJ will be supportive and loving through everything.
Finally, I will also be more than a bit sad to be ending this blogsite. I can hope that someday I will re-visit this "Pine Ridge Reflections" in another era of life, but the future is so unknown, and no promises can be made. I will continue through June to post, as I have plans to work with the RC summer school program.... but after that, this blog will continue to exist in its current state, without the addition of further pine ridge exploration. Sad thought. I know.
I also want to express my unending appreciation of your support as readers and occasional responders to my blog. I know this has been a great tool to update friends and family with my life- and I'm not anticipating this for my seminary experience (come on, how much does everyone really care to hear about my systematic theology course?) :):) But I would be interested in giving updates to those who are excited about reading them...I currently don't have a clear understanding of who that would be. (Okay, those who respond to this, I do know you!)- But Sas, I imagine you'll forego the systematic theology, huh? :)
This is the ending of my introspective post. Thanks for living inside my mind and heart today... I always appreciate the ability to share my thoughts. :) You are all rockstars in your own way, so never give up living on stage! :)
Sending my love and smiles,