Sunday, November 4, 2007

part 1: letter from debriefing

this is the moment you have stressed about for the last three months- the moment you enter the unknown, a moment the will last for at least three weeks. your family, your friends have been gathering for weeks, patting you and the back, trying their mightiest to reassure you that "you'll do great." you think, maybe they're right. maybe i will do great. i'm ready. i have my ten pairs of underwear, my two rolls of toilet paper, my hand sanitizer... yep, we're good to go.

then you arrive an hour late, find two people you've never met before in baggage claim (or maybe they find you first), get lost, spend a restless night on the floor in a room shared by 30+ female strangers. when the sun arrives, so does a new face ready to tear apart your two perfectly packed boxes and to rapidly repack (a.k.a. vigorously shove) their contents into an immense blue bag and get you registered before the hot water for oatmeal runs dry. you then have the privilege of riding in a school bus for four hours to "destination n/a" as the humidity seeps through the plastic seats to wearing on you like a winter coat.

and just when you begin to think, why couldn't the plane have crashed? you hear it. the soft roar of voices unmet. you see pants being flown proudly on their broomstick and you are told, "we believe in you more than you believe in yourself"; you swallow your fear with your stale gum... welcome to training camp. and though you don't realize it (not in a brainwashing sense, but in a stubborn pride sense), this is the start of a slow reformation.

so i sit here, listening to the wind and rain rage outside in tiny Pinner, England, and look back through five weeks of hammering and stripping away every peice of anything i once considered rational and comprehend only a fragment of the transformation that has begun, or perhaps it's that i'm hoping i only understand a part of what has happened, because i fear that knowing completely would mean losing the desire to continue searching. it has taken twenty years to get here... i would be satisfied if it took another twenty to finish.

this process is slow and tedious, but something beautiful has begun.

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." romans 5:3-5

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