A community that holds.

When I was twenty, a transformative experience changed my life (as my choice of adjectives would suggest duh). I mentioned here once or twice that my time in California tilted my world on its axis and I’ve been moving forward at a merry tilt ever since.

It was one of those experiences that lingers, always, on the edge of your consciousness. The green of spring. The sound of an acoustic guitar. Crafts made by hands. Farmers markets. Free spirits. Open and honest communication. You will always know where my heart is, in those moments that immediately follow a chance encounter with a fleeting reminder.

It’s where I discovered the boxes I had been put in — by myself, by others — and how to steadily climb out of them. It’s where I learned to start thinking and acting like an adult, because others viewed me that way and I liked it. It’s where I figured out how to take my heart back into my body, how to hold it with care, how to trust in it again. And it’s where I boldly uncovered that I wanted to push that heart right back out into the world again to become a teacher.

It was an experience that lingers, yes, which makes it all the more wonderful as I’m starting see those same glimpses of magic on the edges of my vision that I saw then. The community held me with such care, held each other with such care, and the loss of that feeling has stayed with me the last few years. But I’m finding it again.

I walked into a ballroom yesterday morning, to set up for a senior event, and immediately heard excited voices calling my name. And as I looked around the room, the joy kept growing inside me as I saw a dozen faces of my freshmen students unexpectedly around the room. We were so happy to see each other.

I kept thinking, as we tied gossamer fabric around chairs and hung up lights, as I asked my students about older siblings I didn’t know existed, as I shared my own stories of being an older sibling to a high school freshman, that I hold this community in the same way — with the same care, of the same import — that others held the community for me five years ago. This too, will be something that lingers.

[An axis that keeps on spinning..]