you're my sweetheart.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hey Lumineers. Why don't you just write a song that describes my life and everything on my mind and make it really catchy so I play it on repeat for a week straight.

Thanks.



So my life has been kind of busy lately. I know I say that a lot, but this time its really true. I have a triple midterm monday rapidly approaching, dorm and campus events, halloween/homecoming weekend looming at the end, and a rhetoric exam somewhere in the soon future. I'm getting kind of used to just having a busy life. Maybe that's what this year will be remembered for. Hmph.

On a spur of the moment chance I pulled out an old, well-worn black book, held together by an elastic band of the same color, dotted with stickers and different colorful taped on words. My journal. It housed all my emotions, stories, worries, joyful hopes, and more from the second semester of my freshman year through the first semester of my sophomore year, aka 2011.

What an insane year.

I read through old memories, hopeful ambitions, a frustrating yet fulfilling summer and more. Talk about a throwback. I was a really different person back then. People I was concerned with, thoughts about my future...things are a lot different now. You don't really recognize a season of life until you finish it. Until you can look back and see where it started, how it played out, and where it ended. It makes me think about how I will look back on the current season of my life now. How I will about it? Will I be slightly embarrassed, as I was with some of the stuff that was scribbled into that old black book?

There was one section though, that particularly stuck out to me. Midway through the fall semester of 2011 I was considering applying to be an RA, and then eventually went through the application process. I journaled a lot about that. Why I wanted to do this, what I was hoping for, where I wanted to serve as a resident assistant, etc. My prayer lists, which were sloppily written in margins and spaces between bits and pieces of life I taped onto the pages was always topped by "RA" or "RA applications" or "RA interview." I thought about it a lot during those last couple weeks of school.

November 28th, 2011

The final stretch. The last weeks of the semester, the final projects, the final exams, everything that stands between me and Christmas break. I have one hell of a week standing in between me and next Monday. I don't want to do it, but someone has got to do it. Papers, presentations, daily homework and an exam to top it all off. Throw various meetings and one very important interview, and you've got my week.

Every time I start thinking about being an RA my heart beats out of my chest. I think about living in a solo room, have a section of girls that look up to me, being in a position of leadership, making my parents and my school proud.


I want this. I want to take on this challenge. I want to live out my faith and spend a year not for me, but for my residents, at the same time being blessed by them.

God, it's in your hands now. Be with me in my interview tomorrow. Keep my heart still, keep me calm, and help me to be honest and be myself. Shine through me for all to see. Be the center of my life and guide my desires to match your will for me. Help me to see you in all that I do. Help me to truly pray,

Our Father, who art in Heaven

Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven,
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.
Amen.

Thus led into the waiting game. Applying in the fall meant I had to wait until the end of February to hear the final decision, after the remainder of campus applied in the spring, when I was to be abroad. I tried to push all of those thoughts to the back burner, and get on with life. Finals, holidays, a new year beginning, etc.

Reading over those words that crossed my mind so much last November led me to pick up another journal, one that I began this January, prior to leaving to Istanbul. It houses all of my adventures from abroad, bundled in a handmade masterpiece by the lovely Tim Caldwell. I flipped through the thick, off-white pages, covered with words from a Turkish ink pen that details my life from January - May. I found the entry after a bit of searching, one that I wrote on an early morning after receiving the best news in the world the night before.

February 18th 2012: Yeditepe

My heart is full of joy. In the span of 24 hours, my entire junior year has changed. I am going to be an RA next year! Stop. Breathe. Relax. Smile! The wait finally came to an end last night at Jim and Heather's when I checked my email on my phone and read the PDF from Stu. I wanted to shout  I wanted to tell someone, but I forced myself to contain it until Shea asked me, and I finally got to tell someone.

The happiness she showed me at that point erased any doubt in my mind about being placed in Armington and not a freshman dorm. I am so thankful she was the first person I told. Out tiny (and secretive) celebration in Jim and Heather's living room meant more to me than she will ever know. And coming home (back to the dorms) and getting to email friends/my parents just added to the joy.

I don't have words for all the feelings I am experiencing right now, but I want to soak in all that I can. My life changed, and school has as well! I am so stoked for the opportunity that God has given me - not to mention all of the answered prayers leading up to last night. Tomorrow brings a day of homework (most likely at my favorite cafe tower) and an evening skype session with Mom and Dad to celebrate this weekend's good news. I am on such a high right now - God is so good! I have no one else to thank but him, and I cannot thank him enough!

What joy I remember from that evening.

Our team was having desserts at our professor's apartment, and in between eating some delicious pastries and sipping cay, I found a tiny bit of wifi and checked my email on my phone. Seeing the email from Stu, with an attachment made my heart stop. I opened it cautiously, then opened the attached PDF, read the words that confirmed the hope within my heart, and suddenly my entire junior year changed.

Obviously in the wrong setting to shout out "I'M GOING TO BE AN RA" I excused myself to the bathroom where I sat down on the floor, laid my head back against the wall, and sat in this outstanding news. I remember feeling so overwhelmed with joy that tears began to make their way onto my face, but I quickly wiped them away, re-read the email to make sure I wasn't mistaken, and composed myself to re-enter the real world.

Life went on.

I celebrated with friends, family, and went about with the rest of my abroad program and the summer, where I got to share with my Calvin Crest family the hopes for my new section the following fall. I began to pray over the new year, with new friends, new responsibilities, and new expectations. I was so excited, but also incredibly nervous. 25 young women who didn't know me, or my story? What if I can't do this? What if I'm not accepted? Or good enough? Or capable?

The questions continued up to the first morning at Westmont, this semester. I remember waking up and realizing, "it starts today." Packing up for Imprint, having the first dinner with my staff, and going to bed incredibly early, because our entire ResLife staff was leaving bright and early at 5am the next day for Imprint.

Which led me to pick up another journal.

This one is small. Pocket-sized. A little black mole-skin notebook, with a white stamp on the cover that reads "Residence Life: IMPRINT." My tiny little companion for four days in the wilderness, the last bit of preparation before RA training began. My last moments of true solitude in creation.

August 11th 2012: En route to Forester Lake (10,500ft above sea level)

God, you are so incredibly good to me. You are the reason I made it through those devilish switchbacks and moments of weakness. Glory be to you, Father, for bringing this wonderful Imprint Team thus far. This entire trip has brought me to my knees in gratitude. Everywhere I look, I have something or someone to be thankful for. I have never felt more thankful in my life than I do now. Absolutely incredible. I pray that feeling sticks as my year as an RA begins.

On the topic of being thankful, I think its time to be completely thankful to God for calling me to be an RA. I still remember praying so much during that fall semester of my sophomore year, kneeling before the cross in chapel and laying it all down before the Lord. He heard me, knew I could do this, and has graciously called me to it. Thank you God, from the bottom of my heart for this. I can't thank you enough for this opportunity, and I pray I am able to fulfill that which you have called me to wholly and fully. Equip me God, with all that I need and help me realize that which is already within me. Thank you for this year, and the chance to give back to the ResLife that has given so much to me. I know that through you, God, this year will be amazing in so many ways. Bless Armington A1, bless the residents, conversations and struggles that will be present in my section. Continue to work in my life and in the lives of my residents as move-in-day draws closer and closer. May you always be present in our section.

And here I am now.

Seven weeks into being an RA, junior year, and all that comes with it. My life is radically different now, than ever, and I love it. I love this job that I have been given, I love my residents, my staff, and the community that I get to experience.

One day I'm going to look back on this year, see how friendships were born, laugh from hilarious moments, see struggles and the beauty that was born out of them, and still be so thankful I was called to this position this year. This is a new experience. Something I have never done before, something that brings something new every day, every moment, pushing me to discover ne and more creative ways to reach the finish line.

Here's to a solid season of life.
I'm happy with where I am.
And I can't wait to see where I'm going.

#armingtonA1forever

Respectfully submitted,
Leah

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