I am in Redding.
This is so bizarre. Last night I saw an old friend and found her to be much like me - at least in how things have changed. Life happened in the two years since I last saw her and an even more calming maturity has settled on her. And exciting times are happening for her and it was wonderful to reunite just now.
However, I am now sharing a hotel room with my loveliest of roommates, which is strange for many reasons:
1. I am in a hotel room in Redding. I'm not staying with a friend. I spent 3 years of my life here. Once upon a time I knew people here very intimately. Now, I just a stranger, a guest, a traveller. Now I stay in hotels.
2. My roommate also lived here once, but after me. She was here for just a few months. But I know there is some strangeness for her too. I am glad we are here together. (I love my roommate.)
3. The last time I staid in this hotel, I was 18 and playing Volleyball for Multnomah.
Today I will attend a Simpson University graduation ceremony. My lovely young mentee, Jenny Lawler, will walk across the stage and receive the degree that took her 5 years to earn. She will be a college graduate and I am so ridiculously proud of her.
I did not spend time thinking, before this very morning, how it would feel to be in Redding and how it would feel to be at yet another Simpson Graduation. The last one I went to was my own. I will see professors, and friends and people I haven't seen or talked to in 4 years. And then I must come to grips with the fact that the life I lived here was 4 years ago.
Last night Katie and I talked about Andrew... and I realized that the last time she heard me talk about him, I still had not yet processed much of our relationship. I also had not yet felt settled and secure enough about my opinions about my life and the world to be able to unapologetically explain where I am coming from and who I am. Last night was refreshing. I am not afraid of my life. I am, however, afraid of today.
Here is my saving grace: This day is so not about me and the people I might bump into. It is about Jenni Lawler and her huge achievement. It is about being here with her and with people I love who have loved me my entire life. It is about being that friend, that adult, that person that can look at this girl whom I have loved my entire life and being glowingly proud of how amazing she is. So I will likely bump into people. But who cares. I am me and I am not afraid of my life.
I remain. I am still here.
And in 4 hours I will be with Julie.