Wow. Monday (tomorrow) marks three weeks since my arrival in Tucson. I can’t believe it’s been that long. But at the same time it feels like I’ve been here forever. After a whirlwind couple of weeks, things have settled down, the changes aren’t coming quite as quickly. About a month ago, I said goodbye to Owensboro and my family for what is realistically the last time (more on that later). I flew to New York and spent a week there for some serious disorientation in preparation for my YAV year. At the end of that week, I took a two-leg trip to Tucson where a week long orientation commenced. After that week, I started my position with Primavera and had another week of orientation for the work I will be doing there. Then, last week, I helped to kick off the after school program that I will be helping with throughout the next year. Every single week there has been some sort of change, but those are starting to slow down. Life in Tucson is taking on some semblance of normalcy, for this I’m extremely grateful.
The after school program, as I mentioned above, is one of my responsibilities with my position at the Primavera Foundation. It started this past week on Wednesday and what an experience that was! The kids are awesome, they really are, but they are also difficult (as most children can be right?). You never know what they’re going to do and the job definitely keeps me on my toes. I can’t wait until I can get my feet more fully under me and I understand more what my position looks like. This after school program has definitely sucked up a lot of my time as we only had effectively four days to prepare for our first week and beyond. I can’t wait to get some good planning done and to implement mine and Cody’s plan for this program. I am so excited for what this year can be and to put our stamp on this program, but I’m slightly frustrated that we haven’t made more progress along those lines. I just have to keep reminding myself that our time has been short and eventually we’ll get there.
So that was my week and that led into the weekend. Let me just say that I love having an automatic three day weekend every weekend. Even if we have community events (like our ongoing discernment activities) on Fridays, we still don’t have to work and that is awesome to me. Anyway, part of our activities this weekend included a bike safety class that started Wednesday evening with a classroom portion and ended this Saturday with a scheduled six hour long practical skills portion. That Saturday portion was particularly hard to get through. We ended up getting up before 6 AM to prepare ourselves for the 30 minute ride to the Shalom Mennonite Fellowship where we were to begin our course. I began the journey there extremely resentfully. I wanted to sleep in, I wanted to enjoy my Saturday, do some laundry, journal a little, and finish up writing my thank you notes. Thus I set out to the site of the class with a less than positive outlook on the day. I saw this in myself, and, instead of living with that, I decided to pray. I asked God to help me “flip the switch”; instead of looking at the negatives of what I was doing, I wanted to see the positives and I wanted to enjoy the day. Living into that, allowing those changes to occur in my psyche, turned my potentially bad morning into a fun day. I got to learn some new bike skills, help Mirra through yet another flat that she got on the trip back home, I was able to finish more thank you notes to those at FPC-Owensboro who have made my year possible, and I got to go to a pool party with the other volunteers serving this year in Tucson. It was an awesome day, and I thank God for that change.
Earlier I mentioned the beginning of this adventure involved me leaving my home for what is basically the last time. Well, since I’m getting married a month after returning from Tucson means that I’ll be living between Ashland and Owensboro after I get back. It means I’ll be moving away without much chance to live at 311 Resolution Way. Another thing that hit me today regarding my future marriage is how far away I am from Kentucky and the decisions that are being made surrounding the wedding. Mariah (my fiancée) got her wedding dress yesterday. Admittedly, that is a part of this process that I would not have been a part of even if I was available, but it did highlight to me that I am very much removed from that process except via FaceTime and text messages. This process is hard.
But I want to end with a new person I met this week. She came to the after school program on Thursday as the younger sister of another boy in the program. Her name is Soledad. She is four and she is adorable. We played “soccer” for the last 30 minutes or so of the program on Thursday and her laugh and smile were so infectious that I was cheered up considerably. Before that moment, Thursday had been tough. I was dragging from the day before and just wasn’t sure I could make it through the entirety of the program. Seeing Soledad’s simple joy in kicking the soccer ball with me, and in everything that she did that day was just a wonderful reminder that we can find joy wherever we are. The saddest part of the day was when it was time for Soledad to leave, she didn’t want to go and she was really upset that she had to leave. It broke my heart, but I hope she returns on Monday and I can’t wait to see what else she has to show me about life throughout this year.
Thank you, Faithful God, for changing circumstances, changing mindsets, and the joy of children.