One week. I have one week left in Oklahoma. One week left and so much to do. So many people to say goodbye to. I have begun packing and sorting/cleaning out my room. During this process I have found so many parts of my life. I have found pictures I barely remember taking, notes from people I haven’t talked to in years, old books, prayer lists, CDs I’m embarrassed I listened to, and a list of my 10-year-old self’s ambitions and dreams. I love finding these things and most of them make me laugh. I’m so thankful for these memories and so blessed by the people who helped me make them. These people are making it tough to say goodbye.
The goodbyes started last week as I took a trip around Kansas visiting my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and family friends. I sat in all these kitchens and living rooms that I had grown up visiting and have spent so much time in over the years and felt at home. The goodbyes continued as I babysat some of my favorite kids for the last time. I am going to my last Wednesday night of church tomorrow and am planning last lunches with people. It’s surreal and I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I’m leaving my home. The stories, those memories, my friends, and my family are what make up my home. But as I jump into this new life with a new family in a new house living in a new country I will get to share this home. That means that I will share bits of my memories and bits of all the people who have shaped me. So I am not just showing them who I am, but what all of this has made me. They will see bits of my mom as I try to be a servant the way I have watched her be a servant to others. They will see bits of my dad as I make cheesy jokes. They will see bits of my friends when I laugh at myself the way they showed me how too. And hopefully they will see lots of love because I have been shown so much.
We are all a bit of everyone and everything that have been apart of our lives. So I thank all you who have been apart of my life and have helped me become the person I am. I owe so much to you. As I start my last week here I understand that my time is limited and that the goodbyes will be hard, but that they will only be for a little while. In a week I will be leaving my home. I will be leaving everyone I have ever loved and who has ever loved me, but I will be making a new home with more people who will love me and that I can love, people who will also shape me, change me, and give me a different perspective. People I can share my home with and who can share their home with me. So as I sit here with a suitcase open on the ground and clothes scattered around my room I have a twinge of sadness in my stomach because I am leaving people who I love so dearly, but an enormous amount of excitement and hope for the adventure ahead.