As I write my finial blog post I am officially one week away from the end of my YAV year. This time next Monday I will (in theory) have my car packed and be ready to leave Boston and start my next adventure. For those of you that haven’t heard about my next step plans, let me take a minute and fill you in. When I leave Massachusetts I’ll head back to Virginia to stay at my mom’s house for about three weeks. My younger sister is making a move out to Washington State so I’ll spend a few days with her before she leaves. My older brother just got a new house in Newport News so I’ll go see his new place, travel up to Richmond to see my high school best friends, and probably waste a lot of time relaxing on a beach somewhere. It’s been a year and a half since I last spent time in Newport News so I am incredibly excited to spend some time with my family and friends and recoup before my big move to Austin, Texas. As I have announced before, I was accepted into Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary for their dual degree program partnered with University of Texas in Austin. I’ll be pursuing a Masters in Theology and a Masters in Social Work, so go ahead and mark your calendars for a graduation in the year 2020! Sometime around August 20th I’ll be making the 22 hour road trip over to Texas to start the next chapter of my life.
While I’m writing this I’m unbelievably excited about the future. I feel like I have a good idea of where I’m going and what I want to do, but as the time grows closer I’m finding it harder and harder to say goodbye to the place I’ve called home this year. If I’m being totally honest, this was not an easy year. There were plenty of bumps along the way which have made me a little eager to finish quickly and move on to the next adventure. Admittedly there were times I was counting down the days (including the -17 degree days). But yesterday I had to say goodbye to Chip Stapleton, the pastor at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, because he will be out of town this coming week; and let me tell you I was totally not prepared. I’ve never been good at goodbyes, but I’m realizing now how much I’ll be missing and how truly sad I am to be leaving. The people I’ve met through Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church and My Brother’s Keeper have been so loving and supportive of me through my year. The genuine interest they’ve taken in my eating challenges, my life challenges, and my spiritual and professional development has created an invaluable and irreplaceable community. My housemate Ashley has gone above and beyond to be flexible and understanding in the fact that we are about as opposite as two people can be. She’s patient when I come home needing to vent or when I leave dishes in the sink. I’ve loved my work and I’ve loved experiencing Boston, but the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve built will be what I miss most when I leave.
As I reflect on my last week of work and I prepare my final sermon to deliver at Good Shepherd I can say that this year was definitely not what I thought it would be, but it was what I needed. This year has really made me ask myself what it is that I bring to the table. What skills, talents, and gifts do I have to offer, and how am I putting them to use each day? What do I really need in my life, and what can I live without? What have I been living without, which I really need? I guess you could say that any 20-something ends up asking themselves these questions at some point, but I’m grateful to the YAV program for bringing these questions to my mind sooner rather than later. This has been quite a year and I’m sure the lessons will continue to present themselves as I get farther away from the experience. So as I leave Boston, I want to extend a massive thank you to everyone and everything that has made this year what it was!