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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tears

The last few days I have been crying a lot. I don't always welcome tears, and will admit that on more than one occasion this week I tried to keep myself from crying, but honestly, I'm thankful for the tears.

I was on a retreat with seniors from the school where I used to teach. Even as I write "used to," it's hard to believe... I was going to write "it's hard to believe I no longer belong there." However, that's not true. While I may not work there anymore, I feel I am still a part of the community, even when I'll be several continents away. I knew that before the retreat, but being with the boys, the alums, and the other faculty members I was reminded that I do belong there. (As a side note, on the topic of belonging...the boys started signing each other the last night on retreat. Yes, I mean each other and one boy asked if he could sign my arm. Not wanting his signature in Sharpie marker on my arm, but caving in to his persistent requests, I let him sign the bottom of my foot. It reminded me of Toy Story: Woody belonged to Andy because Andy's name was on the bottom of Woody's foot. I was the one who jokingly made the comparison, but my discomfort with the idea of "belonging" to another person like that, of being someone's property, makes me grateful the signature has faded!) I know I will always be welcomed there.

This retreat was really the last time I would be a part of any official school activity, so as the week went on and that truth hit me, more tears flowed. At the end of the retreat, I was given a gift signed by everyone on the retreat. When I received it, I started to cry again. I will carry it with me while I'm gone and I'm sure that gift will carry me through the rough times I have. When I got home and had time to read the messages to me, the tears began to flow... again.

I am certain that as I say my good-byes, I will continue to cry through the next few weeks (I leave in 18 days). And while I don't always like having a snotty nose and puffy eyes, I have to say that I consider the tears a blessing. Each of my tears represents the love I share with someone whose physical presence I will miss. Each represents the love of someone I will carry with me in my heart. I can tell you right now, that's a lot of love.

Yesterday some boys on retreat and I were talking about the idea of paying it forward. I hope that as I walk in new places and meet new people, I will pay forward the love I have received. It is the love freely given to me that gives me the strength to leave it behind. It amazes me to write that. If I were not certain that my friends and family will love me whether I am sitting next to them or somewhere across the world, I could never make this journey.

And so the tears, the sign of the outpouring of love I have received, flow. And I will let them.

2 comments:

  1. I always said my tears were the way my heart speaks...let yours flow. :)

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  2. Thanks, Kim. I think you're right.

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