I just got back two days ago from another amazing trip to Wichita. This trip however was different. God spoke to me in a different way while I was there. It was still an amazing week, it was just different.
I arrived on the Friday before Thanksgiving and went straight to Bishop Carroll. I got there in the middle of 7th hour and went and said hi to teachers and students. It was great to be there but it was different. In a lot of ways it still felt like home, comfortable and familiar, but in a lot of ways it felt different. There were now two entire classes of students who had no idea who I was. I knew none of the Freshmen or Sophomores. There is only a handful of Juniors and Seniors there that know me. A huge chunk of the staff I had worked with is no longer there. That over excited welcome I recieved from the school last year had diminished. There was still those few that were every excited to see me and I them but the number of people that knew me had greatly diminished.
The number of people I saw this time around was also less. I still did a lot of running around and tried to spend time with a lot of people, but it was a lot less. I have started losing touch with certain people, mainly former students. And frankly thats ok. I still miss them and pray for them daily but I didn't feel the need to make sure I spent every waking moment trying to catch up with every person I have ever met in Wichita.
The time I did spend with people though felt better and more quality than it had before. I left so impressed with how much my boys had grown up. The boys that were sophmores when I left are now Seniors and I still have a hard time believing they will be graduating this year. It still kills me a little bit that I can't be around for their Senior year but I'm realizing how much they are really starting to make life and their faith their own and am blown away by how the conversations between us while still funny and sarcastic at times are more mature.
The time I spent with the boys who were graduating before I left and are now college sophmores was even more impressive to me. The conversations we had were much more real and much more candid. I honestly felt like I was hanging out with friends and not former students.
Spending time with my young adult friends was also great but things had changed there also. Kids running around, new faces, less drama, people that were married that hadn't been when I left. Still a few socially awkward people but I found even those a little more tolerable than I had before.
Then there was the conversation with Fr. Jarrod. This was pivotal. I finally came to the realization that returning to Bishop Carroll may not happen next year. Its not out of the realm of possibilites but there is no gauruntee that will happen. And you know what, I'm actually ok with that. Another key conversation that happened for me was with Barb Pianalto. I love this woman, she just has a way of making and keeping things so clear and real. I realized in that conversation that I cannot have back what I had before. Life has changed, Carroll has changed, I have changed. Even if I go back to Carroll I cannot recreate what once was. I have to be open to the possibility that God might be leading me some place else. Maybe I'm supposed to be at Kaupan, maybe I'm supposed to work at a Parish or for the diocese, maybe I'm supposed to work in a completely different city. I want to go home and being back at Carroll is still my dream but its because it is comfortable. Maybe God is planning something completely different. All I know is that He's in control and I want to be open to whatever He has in store. It is a little scary not knowing what will happen but it is also so exciting to know the possibilites are endless come May.
This last week I finally let go of my former life in Wichita. It was the first time I came back to Denver and didn't cry. I'm not letting go of the possibility of being back in Wichita but I know that if I am back there it will be a new start. Round 2 will be much different than round one. I'm not letting go of friendships just putting God more in control of them. I came to realize that no matter where I end up Wichita will always have a special place in my heart, I will always go back to visit, and the relationships I built there will continue to last a life time.
I also ask all of you for your prayers as I enter the last week of classes and finals. Pray for me and my thesis and my last semester. Also pray that God would send me where He wants me. I'm applying to places here in Denver, Wichita, Kansas City, New Orleans, and I think I might even apply in Rockford. Bottom line God is in control. I know what I want but I want God to take that desire from me if its not what He wants. I desire His will and His will alone!