Friday, August 03, 2012

It's over.

I served my last meal of chicken strips and tator tots, took a shower and a long nap, had one last amazing dinner with staff and am currently enjoying the last sunset over the mountain top as I prepare to head home tomorrow afternoon.

It's odd. Everything feels so odd.

As I began to sink into my last nap in my comfortable bed in the ranch house, I began to think, a pretty dangerous thing to do when you are about to fall asleep, and all I could think about was how emotionally overwhelmed I felt. Through everything this summer, my emotions have been running high. From that high points of extreme joy and feeling content, to the low points of feeling frustrated and lonely. This summer has been emotional, that's for sure. But now that I have reached the end of my time on the mountaintop, all I can say is this was a good summer.

A good summer, perhaps not a great summer, but definitely not a bad one. A summer full of growth, of learning and moving and shifting and struggling, a summer of lessons learned, risks taken, and adventures had. A summer of love. A summer full of love.

Love will always continue to make me think. It doesn't confuse me anymore, as it once did, but now it just makes me wonder. It makes me think. It makes me evaluate and see the world a little differently. I watched some of my best friends fall in love this summer. I watched as one of my best friends back home begin planning her wedding. I saw love played out in campers, as they told their heartbreaking stories and began to allow Jesus into their lives. I watched love break down walls. I experienced the agape love of Jesus wash over me in one of the lowest points of my summer, simply reassuring me that it was going to be okay. I have breathed in love, and breathed out love this summer.

The sun is beginning to set on my last evening at 5,000ft. My body is physically exhausted and begging for a chance to sleep, recover, and prepare for the next adventure, but my soul is yearning to stay at this place. To stay with the people I love. I am going to miss them so, so, much. These are the people I only get to see once a year, in this place. Who share memories of late night stargazing, ridiculous adventures,  amazing conversations, and of course - chasing cows through the apple orchard. They are my best friends. They are some of my closest friends, and the thought of saying goodbyes tomorrow tears my heart apart.

The next phase of my life is beginning. Ends come and go, they lead into new beginnings, and I know that far too well. I have experienced too many of them to say this only comes once in a lifetime. It doesn't, it comes and goes, it's part of life. I don't enjoy it, but all I know is the more bittersweet the goodbye, the more joyous the reunion will be. And what a reunion it will be, when I get to hug my friends from 5,000 ft sometime in the near future, hear about their lives and share about mine.

An unbreakable bond between people is created when you spend two months together on a mountain top. Where you share everything from living quarters to food. Where you journey together through a ridiculously exhausting summer, creating memories every step of the way. I love the people who have been placed in my life through this place. It takes something as beautiful as a heartbreaking summer to bring about the closest friendships. It takes a late night conversation in Cedar Lodge with junk food from family camp week 3 to remind me of who my real friends are. It takes a late night trip in the gator complete with chicken quesidillas chasing cows to help me find joy when I am feeling down. It takes a place like this to form friendships as beautifully unique as the ones I have with those whom I have met here.

I will treasure the memories I made this summer at 5,000ft.
I won't forget them anytime soon.

Here's to a summer that tore me apart, but put me back together in such a way that I now understand.

I understand somewhat. I don't know anything for sure anymore, but maybe it's taking that uncertainty to help me live on the edge, stand at the end of the diving board and take in that deep breath, which fuels the adrenaline rush inside my soul, helping me believe that this is where I need to be. It's that moment, where you are about to take the risk, about to embark into the unknown where I feel most alive. Where I know this is where I am supposed to be.

And right now, as I watch the last bit of the alpine glow fade into the background of hundreds of trees, as I listen to summer staff laugh with each other on the back pad, and the chill of evening begin to settle in, I know this is where I am meant to be.

Farewell, 5,000ft.
I can't wait to see you again soon.

Respectfully submitted,