It was unimaginably harder to leave Pine Ridge than I could have anticipated. I had no idea that two extra months would find me so attached to the family I made there. There is no way I could possibly communicate in words the love, generosity, joy, community, and faith they showed me. I guess all I can say is that who I am is forever different. My time with them has taught me things that I will always carry with me. No matter where life takes me, I pray that I will always remember that I have family in Pine Ridge.
So now I am here. Home, I guess you could call it. It has been challenging, as always, to adjust to living a "normal" life, to doing what people expect of me. I am unbearably happy to be with Andy again and it has been incredibly refreshing to spend time with my family, but after all this time of getting to put my own desires aside it is kind of unsettling to make all sorts of decisions based on what I want. I've discovered this is not a good feeling to have when it is time to plan a wedding. People generally want you to have a lot of opinions, so I am trying to make the transition to this temporarily comfortable life as best as I can, all the while knowing it is not for me, all the while desperately holding on to who I really am.
There is truly so much excitement to come in this life I am sharing with Andy. I am so thankful for him because I know we will figure out the right way to do things together. I know he will never ask me to be who the world wants me to be and I know he will bring me closer to God's desires for me. It isn't easy to make the transition to married life without all the extra baggage. Every day there is another thing we must choose to tell ourselves we don't need, even if well-meaning people may want it for us. Every day society shouts to us, "Settle down! Get a better job! Register for another set of dishes! Worry about money!" Sometimes we listen and sometimes we quietly say, "No, thank you..."
This is where God has us for now. Murfreesboro Tennessee. So for the next two months we will smother our families with love, and learn to care for eachother better and take some time to breathe and explore what life together may look like. And when our time here is up, we will joyfully move on to a less comfortable life.