On my first night in Fort Wayne I sat in the shower and cried because I was nervous and lonely and didn’t want to be here. On Memorial Day, three months ago, I sat at the same Starbucks I’m sitting in now and read my Bible and prayer-journaled about the summer. Anxious and hopeful.
I had no idea what was ahead of me.
I planned on cooking dinner and working out and writing every evening after work and in reality, most days I just went straight to bed. I had no idea how insanely hard it would be for me to make it through a nine-hour work day with no nap breaks. Not even one!!! But I also had no idea how much this company would come to mean to me and how invested I would become in it.
I planned on using this summer away from my home and my family and my friends to just focus on being by myself. Peace and quiet. Satisfy my inner introvert. No stress of having to build new relationships with these people I would only be around for a few months. I had no idea how much I would come to value and care for them. How happy I would be for their successes and how invested I would become in helping them through their trials. How much I would genuinely enjoy spending time with them and how easy it would be to build friendships that I know will last.
I discovered a lot about myself this summer, too. I discovered that I’m capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for. I discovered that my comfort zone has really been holding me back. I realized that I have a tendency to rush through things and make quick decisions, and I learned that it’s often better to do things slower and right the first time. I discovered that I am not necessarily always a quick, but I am a thorough, learner. I learned that my opinions and ideas have value.
I spent a relatively short amount of time here. But now, less than a week away from the day I’ll leave, I’m realizing there are so many things about this place that I love and that I’ll miss.
The McDonald’s down the street that took my free cone coupons even when they were expired and accepted me at any time of the day or night- unbrushed hair, pajama pants, bare feet and all.
The little blue tattoo shop and all my very large, very loud, very intimidating but very kindhearted new friends.
The Saturday night wine slushies and twinkling lights and guitar solos and blankets in the grass with the best of friends.
The green-eyed boy who didn’t know my favorite song or how to dance and made me wait 17 days but was fun to dream about for a little while.
The church that welcomed me in and let me call it home even for just a few short months.
The coffee shop downtown with the window seat and a view that somehow always seemed to spark a little inspiration in me.
The two weirdest, most unexpected, but funniest and kindest and best friends I could’ve possibly hoped to make this summer.
I didn’t do everything on my summer bucket list. I didn’t visit every place I wanted to go and I definitely didn’t run three miles every day. I didn’t read or write as much as I planned. I don’t think I actually cooked myself dinner one single time. And I had to do some really hard stuff. I was stretched beyond what I have ever been. There was a lot of frustration and anxiety in there too at times.
But my goodness did I have the best summer. It was full of simple joys and really loud laughter and spontaneous road trips and good talks with great new friends. And maybe I will be back here someday more permanently- maybe not. I don’t know. I can tell you, though, that after the past three months I’ve got such a renewed sense of faith in following where God leads. I feel nothing but grateful.