Ladies and gents, this is me and five of the most amazing girls in the whole wide world without end, forever and ever, amen. (Front row: Rose Mary, April, me, Lisa. Back row: Emily, Amy.) I couldn't have asked for a better mentoring group. The sad thing is that it feels that we're just getting to the good part, and the year is over. These girls have seen me act super goofy. They have seen me cry. They have taught me so much about God's unconditional love for me as they loved me through some of the most difficult months of my life. They have entrusted me with their dreams and sorrows. I love you, dear girls!
And here's to Dorm 3! ("Whaaat? Dooooorm THREE!") Leann, Joanne, Emily, me, and Ruth Anna... I have no clue what like at FB would have been without Sunday morning "coffee party, coffee party, COFFEE PARTY!" and late-night talks and pedicures! Shoot, I hate saying good-bye! Can you honestly imagine what it will be like after Jesus returns to heal the earth? Can you imagine never having to let go again? A huge part of me wants to just hold onto the next week and not let go, but time is too intangible to restrain. (That's probably a mercy, actually.)
After this crazy week, we'll be on choir tour. Yay! Happiness!
After choir tour, I'll have to say good-bye to almost everyone and stay at FB. Suffice it to say that is not going to be fun. After a lonely week here (in which I plan to visit one last time the haunts around here in which I'll leave pieces of my soul), I'll move back to my dear Lancaster city! (And the ghetto girl in me does a "yeh-yeh, yeah!") I can't wait to spend time wid kids on my block and be back with my youth group!
In the course of this past week my family has experienced a significant growth, three new members being welcomed with open arms. My family of books, to be specific. After displaying a monumental show of discipline in the abstaining from the procuring of books for three entire months (I'm sorry about the glare in your eyes; that would just be my halo), I bought The Shack and Surprised by Hope. I'd borrowed and read The Shack this past winter, but I want to read it again. It's a phenomenal look at humanity, God, suffering, and love. I keenly identified with Mack's misconceptions about God. It's a beautiful and deeply moving book. Surprised by Hope, by N.T Wright is a refreshing and renewing look at the reality of the Kingdom of God in the earth today and the incredible implications the resurrection of Jesus has for both humans and the rest of God's good creation. Parts of the book were assigned readings for Melvin Lehman's "Kingdom of God" class I took during Winter Term, and the excerpts I devoured far from satiated my appetite. ;) The reality of Redemption and the part we as Kingdom citizens are invited to play excites me and energizes me. Wright is incredibly insightful, and I can't wait to read the book from fore to aft. And, today, Irene gave those of us in her mentoring group The Incredible Journey of Edward Tulane. Ruth Anna read an excerpt from it to us girls one evening. It's the story of how Edward Tulane, an entirely self-absorbed china rabbit, learned how to return love. Technically, it could be a kids' book, but I was extremely touched by the calamities (such as being snatched from the little girl that dearly loved him, stripped of all his clothes, excepting his hat, and being thrown into the ocean where he would have drowned had he been able to do so before a fisherman rescued him, only to be later buried in trash and hung by his ears) that befell Edward to open his selfish heart. After he had finally learned to love and experienced the pain that loving and losing entails (not even the hint of a pun here, of course), he determined never to love again. A china doll told him he might as well jump off the shelf on which he was sitting in the doll store if he was determined to live such a hollow existence. "Someone will come for you," she said. Once Edward began to hope, someone did... and it was the person he never dared imagine would come.