Thursday, August 21, 2008

Goodbye

Two days ago I finally said goodbye to a man I loved. I gave him my heart. He gave me a gallon of bleach he couldn't take with him to Africa. In all honesty, he also gave me a year rich in experience, in understanding compassion and patience, and in love--raw and consuming as it was. (In all honesty, for my birthday a couple of months ago he also gave me a gift card for a day spa which I can't wait to use on Saturday!)

I also said goodbye to a life I thought I wanted to live. Exciting, exotic, and very different from the one I'm accustomed to living, one of what I considered security, importance, intellect, diversity and cultural exchange, and politics. Now it has filled itself back up with books and oral exams, marathon training, and apron making. I decided the best way to mend was through stretching my mind and my legs, through creating with my hands. Right now it doesn't really fill the emptiness, but one day it will. I believe.

I sort of feel like I'm at a crossroads, like I'm shedding one skin and exposing myself to another. I remember one time when I worked with the Young Women in Harlem. At our New Beginnings activity, one of the leaders told the girls they had to wear Sunday dress, and brought some of her own white NYC career woman skirts for the black projects girls to wear. One refused, saying bluntly, "Those is not my skins." Right now I don't feel like I'm in my skins. I know, I know--it's all about time. I'll grow into myself; I'll find my own new life. And one day I'll again be comfortable and embrace the skins I'm in.

But for now, with the farewell, I'm reminded of one of my favorite Book of Mormon concepts: deliverance. I echo what dear Helaman wrote to Moroni after fighting incredibly difficult battles with his small, seemingly flailing band: "Blessed is the name of our God; for behold, it is he that has delivered us; yea, that has done this great thing for us" (Alma 57:35). I believe that in the delivery from old to new, from past to future, that we experience tender mercies. I believe in saying goodbye we also say hello to newness.

And so to him I say: May you find true peace, true joy, and true deliverance in Africa. And thank you for the bleach. And the memories.

11 comments:

Laurel said...

Bravest.
Girl.
Ever.

The Wyler Family said...

you're amazing jenny reeder! let's talk again soon (when i'm not distracted with a 3 year old who wants me to read stories and an 11 month old who wants to rip the pages out of the stories)! I love you all the days! be good... but not too good. :)

D'Arcy said...

feel your pain. deeply.

we are courage.

Marni said...

This is a beautiful tribute to your time with Kendall and to your own broken-but-mending heart Jenny. What tremendous courage you show in putting it here on your blog. I hope the running and studying and apron-making will help hasten the Balm of Gilead to your soul.

Jill said...

He's a fool and that's that. You are wonderful and beautiful and I pray you get swept off your feetin the same amount of time as his flight to Africa. You will perservere.
xoxo

Rosander said...

Oh I'm so sorry. You truly are amazing! I love you!

JJ said...

Ditto all that everyone else has said and add, you really are amazing!

Laurie, the girls and Scott said...

Bleach!

Perhaps these words will help. "At first I was afraid, I was petrified. I thought that I could never live without you by my side. And then I spent so many nights (something, something) how you did me wrong. And I was strong, and I learned how to get along . . . " Gloria Gaynor is a wise disco mama.

Julie said...

call me if you need me! We can hang out!

Kristi said...

This post sort of made me cry. :o(

Janell said...

Aw, man! I'm sorry your heart is hurting and that such change is so painful... it SUX, actually. I wish I could give you a big, fat hug. Know you're loved in MANY ways, by many people! I hope and pray that your heart heals soon. You are A-MA-ZING!
xoxo,
-jd