So much has happened in the past month and a half, and I will get to all of it eventually, but right now I am thinking about one thing.
Today we are in the library at the local college. Andy is working on a resume and I am just searching around the internet. In my searching, I came across a link to a New York Times article about a photographer who spent time in Pine Ridge. His story and perspective and opinions is by no means the beginning and end of the situation in Pine Ridge, but the photographs he took stopped me in my tracks. There were some pictures of children from a community on the reservation in which I spent a lot of time. I could see enough of each child in the photos to be sure that they looked familiar, but not enough to be sure that they were the specific kids I thought they might be. The pictures transported me so vividly to the place where I have spent the past year that for a moment it seemed so close. But it is so far way, and my heart aches.
For the time being, Andy and I are living in Chattanooga. We are trying desperatly not to alienate ourselves from community. We have intentionally planted ourselves in a diverse neighborhood in hopes of getting to know our neighbors. We are searching for a church where we can volunteer and get to know people on a deeper than surface level. We are searching for jobs that will get us more involved in this community we have found ourselves in. I have a feeling, though, that it will be harder for both of us this time around. I think it will be hard because both of us have, in a way, done this before. We have left home, gone to the places we each felt God calling us to, devoted and attached ourselves to these places, learned more than we could have imagined, and then left. We have left feeling a little disillusioned, a little guilty, and with the faces of those we loved there burned into our memories. After that, I think it seems a little daunting to dust ourselves off and go at it again. Not to mention that we have been living in wedding world for the past three months and it still doesn't feel like we have quite assimilated ourselves back into a world that is about more than us and our relationship.
Nonetheless, I am going to try to finish college (sigh), and attempt to trust that God has a plan within all of this, that He will continue to convict us to follow the same passions and callings He gave to us in the beginning, even when it is less than easy, even when it is really really hard. I can only pray that if He really does want us in Pine Ridge, that my heart will continue to ache for the place, and the family He has given me there, as it does now.
The photos and article I came across were at: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/behind-22/