It's quiet in the way that I most enjoy. The quiet where there is a feeling of settledness, even when it is interrupted by the buzzing of a bee, the chirping of the birds, the pawing and clawing of the adorable (and somewhat obnoxious) kitten, and even the clicking of the keys as I type. The quiet when nothing is expected and there is no place to be other than exactly where I sit.
My blog and I have not spent much time together the past 9 months. I could say that it was the busyness of a new (and very demanding in the best of ways) job, or that I haven't been quite sure what to write. I often have thoughts I could share here, but sometimes I don't think they are worthy of typing out for the world to read. Not necessarily because I care what people think (but let's be honest, I definitely care what you think), but because they would have felt more forced than free flowing. That kind of writing doesn't feel worth it to me. That kind of writing feels like a burden and expectation instead of a space for people to connect over similar life experiences, pain, awkwardness, humor and beautiful moments.
Now there is thunder in the distance. It is rolling over itself in an attempt to reach our little weekend house in the woods faster than it knows how. At moments it returns to silence and the rustling of the trees is heard as the wind sweeps through the branches.
As a part of my job, I am given 2 months off in the summer. It has taken me 3 days short of starting up again to finally feel quiet and calm. It has taken me exactly 9 months (to the day) to sit down and write again. There couldn't me a more perfect moment to do so, and I am seizing the opportunity.
I have so many stories to tell you since last time.
I could introduce you to my first Resident Advisor staff. The students I worked with that challenged me, held me accountable, struggled and persevered, at times could barely put up with each other and at other times would work as an incredible team, changed (literally and figuratively), and taught me so much up to the very end of the school year.
I also want you to know about the people that I work with professionally who are an absolute gift. It is not every day that I get to come to the table with a group that is very different than me but just as committed (if not more) to guiding, supporting, and serving students holistically. It is not every day that work becomes integrated into daily life and professional relationships transition into invaluable friendships. It is not every day that my paid work is meaningful and literally life changing.
There are stories of our closest friends that are all willing to endure through difficult transitions, waiting, jobs, health, insecurities, among many other things, into places of thriving. I have watched them go through the cycle a few times, and though it can be disheartening and uncertain, they have proven their resiliency and desire to press on knowing that there is more. I have watched them demonstrate balancing delicately between lightness and heaviness reminding me that really both coexist together.
I could spend time sharing about my immediate family and the exciting opportunities that have fallen in their laps to lead and serve, and the ways in which they want to keep facing fears and continue to learn and overcome obstacles. Or I could tell you about my extended family and what a joy it has been to live closer to some of them, being able to participate and celebrate with each, even if just for an afternoon or evening, and always with great food and drinks.
Then there are the amazing summer adventures with Teej traveling internationally and exploring locally with dear friends. We entertained, played, talked, sunbathed, boated, ate, laughed, cried, and laughed some more. As I have been telling people that have asked, it has been relaxing, but not restful.
The story that I really want to share with you is one that came as a surprise and a necessary reminder this summer.
In the middle of the California desert, in a small western themed town that had been used as a movie set, I ran into an old college acquaintance, named Mark Moore, more commonly referred to as, "Colorado Klumpf". TJ and I went to Pappy + Harriet's in Pioneertown to listen to one of our new favorite bands, The Deslondes. We watched the first two sets they played and as we waited for the third set to start, we stood outside grieving that we missed out on their amazing smoked meats for dinner. We had In-n-Out on the drive, which we never regretted until that moment. I heard my name from across the way, and Mark walked up to us from the table he had been sitting with his girlfriend, Ingrid, and her family.
For those of you who know Mark, there couldn't be a more appropriate place to randomly run into him than the middle of nowhere, in a western themed town, where he and his girlfriend wanted to show her family a good dinner, in a one-of-a-kind spot, 2 hours from Los Angeles. They had come for the food and we had come for the music. Yet clearly we were missing out on the food.
The story is too long and too magical to share the details of how the rest of the evening unfolded. I will say, it involved missing the last set of music from hanging out with Mark, Ingrid and her family, followed by all of us being given a private acoustic show from a couple of guys in the band under the stars after laughing and sharing stories together.
I hadn't seen Mark in 5 years and in college we didn't know each other well. As we were standing there briefly catching up over the usual adult questions of where we work, what we're up to, etc., Mark says to me, "Yeah, you're in Seattle now right? I read it on your blog."
I couldn't believe that Mark had read my blog or even known about it. "Yes! We are, actually. Did you see my blog on facebook?" "No, we aren't friends on facebook. I actually don't know how I saw it, but I like it. You're a really good writer."
That was it. That is the story I wanted to tell you. One tiny comment from an acquaintance that I have virtually (literally) no connection with thinks that I am a good writer and happened to offhandedly mention it. In that moment I knew that I needed to find a time to write again because it is something important for me to do for myself, despite what people may think or if people might read.
Mark has no idea the significance his comment had, bringing me back here, to reflect on the time that has passed and what each moment, each story, each person over the past months has embedded on my heart.
The sun is peaking through the trees now and everything is completely still. I am incredibly grateful for this gift of silence, the smell of dry forest, and of course, the reacquaintance with an old friend.