Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ah the Memories

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the challenges facing Rehoboth and the issues I had to face being in New Mexico. While it was not an inherently 'happy' post, it was right and good to reflect on the rough parts of the year. That being said, today I want to talk about some of the times that made me stop dead and appreciate being a part of this crazy place. These are the times, combined with the darker times, that have made this year unforgettable. Let the fun memories begin!
Being a part of Rehoboth requires you to be a part of a close-knit community. There were the movie nights (did not like the Hunger Games), the game nights (a shorter list would be what games we didn't play), and Trivia Wednesday. There were parties of all kinds, night walks, church small group meetings, and floor hockey games. And there were trips to Flagstaff, Durango, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. Hikes all around Gallup, El Moro, Chaco Canyon, and Rehoboth. 

Already used this picture. But seriously, look at that nature.
Work could get crazy stressful with long hours, but there was some unbelievable times had in the office. Like participating in the Audit Weeks and getting to know some cool CPAs while working incredibly hard. Like being the Director of the annual Phonathon and building deep friendships with the student employees. (The snacks, pizza parties, and bottle-cap baseball didn't hurt).

Friends are convinced all I do is hike. They aren't that wrong.
And outside of Rehoboth, I had the chance to meet a ton of cool people. Like getting to know the ticket lady and docent of the Georgia O'Keefe museum. Or a random couple (who has a child at Wake Forest) that talked to me about their life in North Carolina and how we shared a lot of similarities (both connected to Wake, UNC Charlotte, and accounting). Or different student teachers and interns coming in to teach or work at the nearby hospital. I love meeting new people, and being around a glut of new people has allowed me a chance to grow and develop interpersonal skills.

But some of the most precious times were in appreciating the unbelievable beauty around us in the Southwest. Pulling my first ever all-nighter so we could leave at 3am to make the Albuquerque Balloon Festival was rough, but watching thousands of balloons set in the sunrise over the Sandias was nothing short of breathtaking. I have taken quite a few solo hikes and found how cathartic spending a quiet prayer time outdoors can be. How often can you walk a half hour and be entirely sounded by nature without any human made sound? It is definitely something I will miss.

Casual view, and such

All of these highlights do not even include the times I've had around our awesome donors. Hearing their stories amaze me how wide of a reach Rehoboth has. There are so many people who donate simply because they hear about our work, but have never been on campus. Their sacrifice to an unknown, faraway place impresses me like none other. While on Band Tour (another highlight for sure), I met people from Texas, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, and Illinois who all had stories. Some visit frequently. Some pray for us daily. One man even wrote a book about our work. But they all shared a desire to partner with us through prayer, monetary donations, and volunteer work. I cannot believe how humbling it is to meet person after person with such a loving heart for this special place.

So what should we take away from these memories? For one (to paraphrase The Office), to find beauty in the ordinary things. People I have met here could be considered 'ordinary' by the worlds view, but I have come to see such joy in their stories and lessons. My worldview has been wildly broadened, and I have Rehoboth to thank. But also, to appreciate the small joys in life. Like a beautiful hike or a fun evening playing floor hockey. These things don't earn money or promote me professionally, but they allowed me to meet people, make friends, and stop to appreciate God's creations.

We are here on Earth to 'glorify and enjoy Him forever.' And if we are attempting to live that out, then we need to be investing in others and trying to serve others. Not everyone is called to serve like I was, but each one of us needs to be finding ways to help the culture around us. And hey, when you do, you'll be amazed by the small joys and big memories you will make. 

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