I haven’t written in a while. I got distracted by the myriad happenings of Spring and Summer, and in the true spirit of being an RA for EF in the Summer, I lived a lifetime or three in naught but a few months. But with Fall come the many changes that promote introspection; the flow of incoming students partially wanes, the breathing period formerly known as the weekend stretching back out into two whole days, my own classes starting…
My classes. This is, God willing, the last quarter of classes I will be obliged to take before I, Alexandra Bruner, am qualified to apply for graduation. It’s draining and exhilarating at the same time, it’s throwing me into wild swings of impatience and self-reflection. It’s forcing me to confront and think about the finer details tied into moving on from college and, most importantly, from EF.
Right now, I’m sitting in my living room, all alone. The floor is swept and mopped, the furniture is arranged perfectly, and the sun is hitting the bush outside my window in just the right spot, so that the room is filled with a brown/green ambiance and the shadows of leaves are artfully displayed on the wall by my bookshelf. I love this room; not only because it’s the most beautiful room in my house but because this is the room where all my favorite moments have happened. This is the room where I danced with a six foot plus Russian boy to popular songs from the Sixties, painted pennies with a handsome Venezuelan guy, and taught a 13-year old how to take running leaps into a pile of 86 purple cushions. This is the room where I held a crying girl in my arms because she misses her dead mother and can’t deal with her relapsing anorexia. This is the room where I’ve witnessed to party girls, given out books and advice, prayed with Catholics and Buddhists and enforced push-ups as punishment for foul language. I’ve walked through a hundred heartbreaks, held a thousand hands, busted kids for bad behavior and then been smothered by their grateful hugs the next day. I love this room.
Moments like that keep sneaking up on me- kids will be piled on the couches and cushions watching a movie, and I’ll just glance around the room and drink it all in. I’ll be painting and glance over at the sleepy 16-year old curled up by the window and suddenly be hit with an overwhelming sense of total contentment. One thought always follows these moments, wherever, whenever they hit: How could I ever leave all this? How could I leave the herds of giggling Japanese girls swarming around the mods on their first day here? How can I seriously want to move on from spending all day having water fights and passing out Popsicles, listening to laughter from a dozen different languages while sitting at my kitchen table? How could I leave the ever-changing charts and headcounts, house sweeps for alcohol and party-busting summits with my co-worker(s)?
It’s hard to wrap my mind around leaving, because it’s hard to picture anything better. It’s true, what all the bible teachers say- God’s plan for you is so far above and beyond anything you could ever have imagined. I never thought I would have a job like this, and knowing this fact about life in general absolutely gives me the courage to say to myself in those moments of desperate joy “I can leave because I know that this isn’t the end. I can leave because this is only one part of a glorious whole. I can leave because I know why I arrived; to be a living example of Gods’ strength, love and graciousness, literally to the world.” When it’s time for me to move on, I know that it will be because God has the next phase of whatever my life will be ready to go. There are things I’m going to miss, yes. And there are things that, sometimes, I will be very glad I left behind. But all of the students I have met, I will remember. And many of them continue to be my friends, long after moving on to a different phase of their own life.
So this is the end, a happy thing, and a welcome one.