Thursday, October 6, 2011

i didn't know

It's funny how you have expectations and plans for you life but then things don't turn out the way you expected at all. It's like that quote, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." One thing that has completely surprised me lately is how much I love the work I'm doing at my practicum. Before I started, I didn't know I would like it and was giving myself pep talks to get through it. I didn't know that I would fall completely in love with it and feel incredibly sad as it is coming to an end. So sad that I have to give myself pep talks to convince myself that leaving the families I've been working with, leaving my mentor and my supervisor whom I have grown to love, leaving a part of myself I always knew was there but hadn't yet fully realized, is okay. I guess I should have known that I would love these families that are struggling to make good choices and reunify because when you serve others and think about them and do all that you can to help them, you love them. You just do.

I didn't know that I would be able to advance my practicum by going full time rather than part time (definitely an exception to the rule). That means I will be done on November 7th! It has flown by. At first, I saw a lot of sadness and it was emotionally exhausting. I still see some of that, but my focus has shifted from how that sadness affects me to what I can to help. It really feels like this is a good fit for me. I can hardly stand to think about leaving.

Speaking of not wanting to leave, we are moving to Arizona at the end of the year (possibly as soon as the end of next month). I thought I would like Washington when we moved here but I didn't know how immediately it would feel like home to us and how I would not want to ever leave. People complain about the rain, lack of sun, chilly weather...I will take it all for the beauty, the green trees, the fresh smell, the ideal photo shoot cloud coverage and beautiful locations, the four seasons but still with a fairly mild winter, the amazing people we have met. Don't get me wrong, Arizona is great and we really liked it when we lived there. We went to high school in Arizona. We met in Arizona. We have family and friends in Arizona. It's warm and there is a pool in our neighborhood and our winter will be spent in 70 degree weather. But to me, it's no longer home.

I think whenever you put your heart and soul into something, you leave a piece of yourself behind when you leave. I felt that way about my mission. I feel that way now. School has been my life since we moved to Washington (let's be honest - since we got married, but really all-consuming since we moved to Washington). I studied hard and jumped through hoops and our marriage was strengthened as we worked through the hard stuff together. Wendel edited every last paper in both my BASW and MSW programs, helped me jump through those hoops, was right by my side through every part of my application process for graduate school, and even drove down to my final presentation in my final gradate class to sit in the back and listen (which was a huge surprise to me). We've done the hard things together, which has stretched us and brought us closer. This makes it all the more difficult to leave. I didn't know school would have such positive effects on our marriage.

I kind of want to curl up in a ball and cry (if I wasn't so busy, I probably would). I am taking courage from Katie, who reminds me that "I can do hard things." Life keeps surprising me, so maybe I will fall in love with Arizona again and I will find a job there that I love and our ward will be amazing and I will meet awesome people and I won't be able to imagine not living there. Right?


Mel said...

This was a great post, Ashley!

lkdoria said...

I love everything you said. I am sad you have to leave it all. You know me...why leave???

Katie Tyler said...

all of your posts are so thoughtful. I love reading them. I am sad to see you going so soon (next month??) but I am excited for your new adventure. I am also glad that you love your practicum so much and that school has been good for your marriage! Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways doesn't He? You CAN do hard things :)

Tyson Roberts said...

I wish you guys didnt have to go. Its been so awesome living close to you and getting to see Oliver start to grow up. I hope you guys somehow make it back up here in the future.

krys said...

I am so sad for you guys!! I know how much you loved it....I LOVED visiting!! It's never easy to say goodbye.... However, I remember living with you at RICKS and you LOVED Arizona and always talked about it. SO best of wishes with the change...You are the greatest and deserve the best :0)

BTW Love your pics of your boy on FB...His smile is contagious!!