Well, I tried my best to brainwash my 2 year old nephew this weekend with the idea that I am the best aunt in the entire world. We played, we laughed, we ran through the sprinkler, we learned how to sneak up on people and say boo! (my sister was just THRILLED about that one). We even played on the jungle gym in McDonalds...which I didn't know wasn't allowed by momma. Score one for Aunt Tori. I just had to get in one last big plug before I left the country. Not that he's going to remember this weekend when he's 16 and rebelling from his parents, but maybe he'll just remember the impression that I am cool and that he can always come and talk to me.
It's asking a lot from a couple of hours of hide-n-seek, but you just never know.
The past couple of days have been exhausting. Not only have I been playing super aunt and trying to keep up with a 30 lb ball of energy and fun, but I've been riding this crazy emotional rollercoaster. You see, this week I got this amazingly heartbreaking news right on the heels of one of my biggest dreams becoming a reality. Talk about mixed emotions. One minute I was laughing at the antics of my nephew, and the next I'd be so overwhelmed that I'd go hide in my closet and cry.
This week, one of my best friends--a person who has changed my life from the moment I met her; a person who has stretched me, challenged me, helped me grow up, and kept me laughing all the while--has had this unbelievably sad thing happen to her little family. Her newborn was diagnosed with very severe heart problems. It's much more complicated than that, but it is her story and I'm not going to tell it to the whole world. But suffice to say, she and her husband are dealing a level of pain I can't even begin to understand.
On the same day that I learned just how serious the situation was with my friend and her baby, I got the news that I have raised more than enough money to make my budget. I got the green light. It really happened. I can finally move to Guatemala. I don't have to sit around this house anymore! I raised more than I ever expected to make, and I am overwhelmed by the generosity and love that was shown to me by people.
But in the jumble of all these things, I don't know what to feel anymore. There have been times this weekend that I just (literally) jumped with joy, and there have been times I just had to leave the house so that I could grieve in peace. Having this fun weekend with my healthy, active little nephew has put into sharp relief the pain that my friend is going through. Every game we played, every funny moment we had, every "biggest, tight hugs" and goodnight kisses I got, were just that much more poignant because I knew my friend might not ever get to have those things with her son.
A couple of weeks ago, I had this semi-meltdown. While at that point, I didn't know when exactly I was leaving for Guate, I knew it was eventually going to happen and I was worried about some of my friends. The transition from college to real life was making things a little tricky. I just felt this desparate need for things to be ok. I needed them to be stable. I needed to know that they were going to be ok and that I didn't have to worry about the security of our relationship while I was gone. Even though this meltdown was mostly centered around one relationship, the mindset was affecting most of the relationships of my life, including my family.
It's taken me a while to figure why I had such an intense desire to have this security, and I'm not entirely proud of the motive now that I've pinned it down. It was completely selfish.
You see, I want to not worry about other people. In theory, I shouldn't be worrying in the first place and I'm working on that...but I'm not there yet. But my real problem goes beyond the worry. I want people to put their lives on hold while I go off and live mine. See? Totally selfish. I've had this struggle before on a smaller scale during the summers. It's not that I don't want to be involved in their lives or that I don't think about them while I am gone, it's just that I have this part of me that wants to be Super Tori. I want to be the hero. I want to be the amazing friend that is always there when you need her. And I don't want anything too big to happen while I'm gone, because then I can't be there for the celebration or the tears, depending on the outcome.
When I went to college, I learned a lot more than what was taught in my classes. I learned what it was like to have real friendships. God put these amazing people in my life. People who, surprisingly enough, loved me and thought I was funny and wanted to hang out with me. People who ate dinner with me every night, or watched Sweet Home Alabama with me 10 zillion times. People who were my family away from home.
And the friends that came along during the summer adventures...talk about how cool God is and how intricate our paths are in this world. To run across those incredible friends--some who were only a part of my life for a couple of months, but who made their impact nonetheless; and the ones who got so caught up in my soul that they will always be a part of me....you can't tell me there isn't a God. I won't believe you. There is no way that these friendships are just some cosmic coincidence.
But the thing is--I have been so incredibly blessed by these relationships that it's hard to let them go. I'm not talking about ending them. I'm talking about letting them evolve. The honest reality of it all is that my life, and their's for that matter, are changing. I've finally had the courage to take a step I've been talking about for years, and while I am so excited about it becoming a reality, I am so reluctant to let go of my control.
It always comes back to a control issue with me, doesn't it? *sigh*
While I am coming to terms with the fact that uncertainity is the key word in reference to my future right now, I just wasn't ready to let go of my old friendships. I want to be able to take care of these people and I don't know how to do that thousands of miles away.
Take, for instance, my friend with the sick baby. I have been miserable this weekend because I couldn't go to her. I knew in my brain that I didn't need to be there right now, that I would only be in the way at this stage, that I couldn't make anything better by being there. The only thing I could do was pray. And, boy, am I praying. But still, my heart isn't listening to my head and it keeps trying to come up with ways to fix things. It keeps telling me that I need to get in my car, now, and go to her. I told her she just has to say the word and I'm out the door, and I need to trust that she'll tell me if she needs me. But, man alive, it is so hard to sit on the sidelines.
I've struggled all weekend with the timing on this. When I've finally set a date to leave the country, this thing happens that makes me want to not leave. I know I have to go and that I need to trust that God can take care of my friend in the future like He has the past, but it's so hard to not put on my superhero cape and rush to the rescue.
I can't fix this. I know that. But I would trade in my entire year in Guatemala if it meant I could help just a little bit.
It seems that that repeating refrain in my life has come around again...Trust God, Tori. Trust. Lean not on your own understanding, but see God's hand in your life and let him be in control.