My sorority sisters had a "surprise" gathering for me last night at Tanisha's apartment (a soror/ friend/ university colleague). We had such a great time that I thought I might not make it to work this morning, but I did and was surprisingly on time.
We toasted my move with daiquiris, feasted on chicken wings and finger foods and laughed the night away. Other friends showed up and I found myself already missing them and wishing I could stay in North Carolina and move to New York City at the same time. When I relayed my thoughts to Daphne, she replied, "Katie, you know a night like tonight is an exception in Cullowhee. Get out of here!"
In response to the semi-farewell email I sent to my university colleagues yesterday, this is an excerpt of my boss' reply:
... And you’ve been around me enough to know my convictions for those unexpected bumps in the road. There’s a verse that says, “In this world there will be trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” It lets me know not to be shocked when things don’t go my way because I was given a heads up that things don’t always go smoothly, but in the midst of the trouble, I trust in the Overcomer.
Let these beautiful mountains be a reminder during those times as well. Have you ever noticed that things grow more profusely in the valley than they do on the highest mountaintop? I believe the same to be true in life—I don’t think we grow a lot at the pinnacle of successes; rather, we grow through the valleys of adversity. We just tend to spend more time enjoying the view from the top. So, enjoy the peaks, grow in the valleys, and enjoy the journey.
I am not a particularly religious, which my devout Catholic mother takes as a personal failure in her efforts to raise me and my brother in the Catholic Church. I don't think she has failed. In fact, I consider myself a spiritual person (which seems to be a fad term amongst the inactive, nondenominational crowd). Though I do not always agree with the Catholic Church on certain issues, I attend church as regularly as possible out of respect for my mother's beliefs and in my personal pursuit to turn out the way she wants me to ... I am, afterall, my mother's daughter. However, I am just as much my father's daughter, who has learned from a relatively liberal Catholic mother and an even-more-liberal Unitarian father (amazingly still happily married despite the differences in faith) to appreciate religion yet question everything. And have a little humor along the way.
I appreciate religion because it provides faith, hope and love within the general population. I question religion because it causes conflict, war and hate among the general population. Sometimes I don't know what I believe. Other times, I question what I think I believe. Some say that is a sign of a lost soul. I say that is the mark of a soul seeking to be well-informed.
I appreciate the beliefs of others and when they care enough about me to share - not enforce - their faith with me in order to offer fellowship, guidance or love. The words that my boss took the time to compose mean so much to me that I had to add them to this blog. His words have left their impression on the start of my journey and will serve as a source for reflection in the peaks and valleys.
P.S. Family and friends, rest assured that not all personal correspondence will end up making a cameo in my blog; it will depend on the degree of privacy, of course!