welcome home(?)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

It's been eight months since I've stepped foot on Westmont's campus.

Yesterday, I made the long journey back with my Dad, unpacked a full car of dorm-room belongings, and have settled into my new tiny room for my junior year.

Is this even real? Am I not just going to pack up and move somewhere else in a couple months? Am I really going to stay here until May? Am I about to embark on one of the most exciting and potentially scariest years of my college life? Is this about to begin?

Yes. Yes, Leah, it has already begun.

My soul has never felt more unsettled than it does right now.
Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

My soul feels unsettled because of the familiarity of this place, dashed with the utter astonishment that I am back. It comes in waves, excitement when I see familiar faces, from a late-night chai date with an old section mate, to the first official meeting with the 2012-2013 RAs in the Page MPR. And then it knots my stomach up, when I sit alone in my room, when I wander the campus and walk over the oh-so-familiar trails, when I feel uncertain about the responsibility that lays before me in this next year.

"How are feeling about the upcoming year?"
"I'm excited, I think it's going to be a great year."

That's been my go-to response when I've been asked that question.

I mean, I am really excited about this year. How different it will be. The leadership role I have been given. But that doesn't come without any feelings of nervousness. Of fear of what this year will look like. Coming off one of the most amazing semesters of school in my life, then pairing that with an extremely amazing summer on the mountaintop, where God spoke to me in his own voice, to come back to a place I haven't been since December of last year just has been kind of unsettling. I know God is about to disperse his amazing peace and reassurance upon me in this awkward transition, and I have full faith that He is here with me.

Westmont hasn't changed much.

I moved into my new room, Armington A101, last night. I lofted my bed, set up my furniture, and began work on our section's door decs after a quick coffee date with one of my close friends. I watched the rest of staff move in, one by one, unsure of when/where we would finally meet. I fell asleep tossing in turning in my bed, not used to the raised elevation of my new lofted sleeping area, and just the feeling that I will be living in this room for the next 8 months.

I woke up to sunshine through my window, and the realization that it begins today. Everything begins today. I went to our first official meeting with RAs this afternoon, where we packed up for Imprint, which begins tomorrow morning, bright and early. Our entire Residence Life staff takes out to Mineral Kings Canyon, for a weekend long backpacking trip. I am looking forward to it. I am really looking forward to being back out in the wilderness, to be back out in the mountains, even to be around the mosquitos and bugs - anything that can bring me some sort of foundation. That's what I've been used to for the past two months. That has been life to me, and this sudden and abrupt transition has left my head spinning.

We also had our first dinner as a staff tonight, with all the members of the Armington ResLife Staff. It was a great evening of laughs and "get-to-know-you's," a chance for me to finally get to see the people I will be calling my family for this next year. I love them already. We are such a weird mix of people, but I think that's the beauty of it. That just like most of our Outpost campers, we're all a little weird, but when you put us all together it's something sort of beautiful. These people are going to be in my life for all of this next year, and hopefully further on out as well. This is the beginning.

This beginning feels so important.

More significant than when I arrived on the mountaintop in July. More important than when I began life back home after traveling the world. Even more significant than when I boarded my flights out to Istanbul. This is the start of something good. Something a little insane, something just crazy enough to work, and something that will make me look back on this year, and say "Yes, that changed me. That year did something amazing for me. That was the year."

It has already begun.

And as of 5:30am tomorrow morning, Imprint 2012 begins and a new adventure is set on track.

Life is happening. It is always happening, but right now - I feel it more than ever.

Respectfully submitted,