I suppose it will always be a rather surreal phenomenon. Time, that is. We all know very well the days and weeks that seem to drag on, and yet we also know quite well the months and years that fly on by as if by magic. I remember well the day I was sitting on the couch with my roommate after I had moved to Miami and she told me that two years of service would go by in an instant. I knew she was right, and that when it came time for me to leave it would feel that way, but I also willed myself not to let it go by quite that fast.
You see, when I signed onto this gig of US-2 young adult missionary service and going to serve somewhere that someone else chose for me, in a city and a state foreign to me, and full of people I did not know, I wanted to learn something. I wanted to learn lots of somethings. And two years is both long and short. It is long enough to be full of learning, of foreign experiences and encounters, of new friends. It’s also quite short. It’s short enough that when I look back on filling out my US-2 application, being in New York for training, getting commissioned, or making the drive down to Miami, it all seems like it just happened. Didn’t it all just happen?
I learned a lot of somethings in my time as a US-2. These years, however short or long they’ve been, have been full. Full of newness, of learning, of happiness, of frustration. Full of loss, of grief, of thankfulness, of celebration. Full of reality checks, beauty, growing up, and lots of love. It’s just been full. And yet it doesn’t feel full enough for me to accept that it’s now time for me to leave.
Endings and beginnings have such blurred lines and I’ve never quite understood how to approach them without a bit of awkwardness. I either don’t acknowledge them at all until absolutely necessary, or I try to understand the meaning behind them at too early a point. I’ve kind of just given up on them all together. I don’t really want my time as a US-2 to end, though I am also eager for what life has for me beyond this juncture in time. So here I sit, not understanding what is about to happen in a few short weeks.
My fellow US-2’s and I will, at our own time and in our own way, be transitioning from this step to the next. We will be both the same people we were two years ago as well as entirely different people. We will go on from this small (and large) two year chunk in our lives and will all scatter in our different directions once more, and I am glad for it. I am glad for what we have learned and experienced, who we have become, the bravery, courage, and knowledge that we’ve all seemed to gain in one way or another, but mostly I am glad for the passions that we’ll be taking with us on into the rest of our lives. It gives me great hope when I think of the other young adult missionaries and all the good that will come from their lives. I’m thankful for the two years we’re stepping out of, and I’m confident and hopeful in the years we’re all stepping into.