Today is October 1, 2015, which means it's been 6 months since I left for Europe. A HALF OF A YEAR? I still haven't even uploaded my photos or written about half the places we visited or fully figured out this freelance thing I nosedived into upon my return. Shit, can somebody find the pause button on 2015 for me? Are we sure it's October 1? HAVE WE CHECKED WITH THE ROMANS?
It's an emotional realization because I've come to know this season of life as before-and-after Europe. I couldn't sense it at the time, but getting on that first flight to London would eventually (now) feel like entering a sort-of time warp, where I was picked up from a steady life at home, taken somewhere unknown to discover my old life was no longer an option, and dropped back off in a place that felt like home, but had become something completely different.
That month away was filled with equal parts heartache and awe, the latter essential to my healing. It was mournful and mesmerizing, carrying the sensation of having fallen off a bike and been set upright again by angels of the Old World. And these five months since have felt a lot more like having to learn how to ride a bike all over again—humbly, steadily, and patiently, all while feeling a little dumb and helpless. I came home and entered a new work life, started counseling for the first time, moved into a new house, and found myself, unexpectedly, entering into a new relationship. Each of these things has been a gift, but has also been hard work—teaching me that I didn't (and don't) have nearly as many things figured out that I thought I did pre-Europe.
But what's been great about starting so many new things at once is rediscovering my need to be a student. I'm learning more about what it looks like for us to grow and honor our gifts by becoming better students of each other, of our craft, of our mentors, of our own weaknesses, and of grace. I'm also finding becoming a student often looks like falling on my face, wearing a little dirt, and learning to accept the outstretched hands that are offering to help me up.
I'm still teetering on my figurative bicycle, and in no way are my bearings set, but I'm showing up and putting my butt in the saddle every day. And slowly, but surely, I'm gaining momentum with my gifts.
I still haven't downloaded my photos from Europe, or properly organized my taxes, and today I am mourning 6 months without Paris, but in this current moment, I feel more known, capable, and hopeful for what's to come than I did standing at the foot of Notre Dame some 24 weeks ago, and to me, that is just as lovely to behold.
Slowly, but surely. Let's keep being students.