I walked in my parents house at 1130 last night to find a self-addressed envelope containing the following:
November 16, 2010
Well Kendra- YOU'RE ALIVE! And hopefully you're mere breaths away from being debt-free! And hopefully your Suburu is singing like a champ! And hopefully you're excruciatingly happy on the inside. You and Laura should be closer than ever, your spirit should be more certain of what it wants, needs, feels, is called to.. and you should be on your way toward that, intentionally.
But as of right now-
As of right now I'm about to graduate from ten months of service that I really wasn't convinced I would make it through. Three days and I no longer have health insurance, no longer have to wear a uniform, no longer make $176 a week- no, every two weeks! No longer drive a government vehicle, wear steel-toe boots, and call an old psych ward "home". In fact in three days I'll be off for the next adventure- a four day roadtrip/excursion with this kid called Man Cub who somehow got ahold of me this last round. I've not understood a lot of it, but there are times, also, when it makes so very much sense and sits so perfectly with my soul. He's good for me and bad for me at the same time. But evenso, I feel it's been good, it's been right.. and somehow it's been beautiful. Is this going to last forever? No. It's not. Do I hope I always know him? Yes. I do. Because he's helped me in so many ways. My confidence has returned, but with it has come a meekness that sometimes makes me feel beautiful. He's shown me, subtly, how I'm special, different, wonderful. He's let me be free.. to really be me. Perhaps I'm learning how to feel, how to let myself feel for me.. how to let someone else make me feel. I've felt the weightiness of the world around me but rarely have I been comfortable letting the world around me feel for me. I have a hard time believing it's love, but I absolutely believe it's positive, worthwhile, meaningful, and good.
So by the time I get this letter it will be May. My 285 days of national service will be long past. How will I remember this? Will I remember the painstaking days at Mason Neck? The over-crowded days in the trailer? The heartwretching weeks in Camden? Will I remember what it felt like to be alive and dead at the same time- sitting on our row-house roof, pounding through the trails in Virginia, laying in the grass en route to Lake Charles, LA. Will I remember 4th round as a person or an experience? It was both.
I hope I explored the realm of music and the piano and the way they play with my spirit.. alot. Alot.
I hope I'm still running. Alot. I hope 18 miles is still an adventure I want, need, and have. I hope my family is still an integral part of my life and that I know and love them even more than I do right now. I hope I'm learning life, love, spirit, body. I hope I'm confident as I am. Kendra, you're more than a body. You're more than a list of what you've done. You're more than a ball of potential. You're someone trying to understand who you are and what that means in the world you've found yourself in. You're broken. I hope you always are. But that's part of what makes you really beautiful.
Perhaps you've found where you belong. If not, keep finding yourself.. keep finding your God.. and trust that one day you'll be home.
These last ten months have developed me more than changed me. I'm still me, moreso than ever, maybe. I'm not trying to be anything, I just am. And that sure feels good.
I hope you're still drinking wine out of coconuts. Promise me you'll always drink wine from coconuts. Promise me you'll always read books that stretch you. Promise me you'll always sleep outside when you can and that no matter the weather, you'll jump in the sea.
Remember the Atlantic, and how it loved you. Remember Allen's guitar. Remember the dolphins, the sea-turtles, the dumpster-diving, the way the ocean rose to kiss you goodbye that last morning in Virginia Beach.. before you waved goodbye to the rising sun, and ran away.
Life is beautiful. Even when it hurts. Even when it sucks. Remember that. Remember Kate, Liz, Puck, Mary, Rob, Heather, Michelle, Kenny, Josh, Nick, Zais, Buck. Remember this crazy place, these absurd people.
And carry on.