Today, is my last day here at Rocky Mountain Pathways Ranch. I'll say the cliche part first: I cannot believe it's already over.
This experience has been one of the most challenging yet beautiful experiences of my life. I find myself constantly astounded on what high school students can teach a person about life. So raw. Uninhibited. Hilarious. Gentle. These amazing beings bursting into bloom. Honored does not begin to describe how I feel about the fact that I got to work with them for these past six months. I never thought a rag-tag, crazy group of high school students from LA could literally drag out the best parts of me right to surface. It was truly incredible.
Colorado, however beautiful kicked my ass while I was here. If you've followed my journey, there was homelessness, poverty, depression, and a coming out. My life changed in ways I could not ever of dreamed of when I was packing my Honda Civic and driving 1,000 miles to be with the mountains- what I considered (and still do) my soul to be made of.
When I got to Denver, God tore me apart.
But, God damn I learned so much. I learned how brokenness is beautiful. And how to stand up for myself. And how certain I am that God will never let me go. Even when I ask Him to. I learned the goodness of others can turn your insides into feathers, and how the gentle snow across mountain peaks can rip your rib cage wide open, exposing your beating heart to the world. I learned that it's OK to say "I don't know" even when the question pertains to your identity. I truly felt how Adam and Eve felt in the garden when they first discovered their nakedness. I learned that nakedness isn't always a bad thing. And I learned that in this insane, brutally beautiful world- we will receive gifts we never deserved. Shit.
As I reflect back to the Great Colorado Adventure, I would like to share with you something. During our programming at the ranch, we ask our students to write a letter to themselves to read 3 months from now. I did one for myself, as well. Here's what it said:
Right now you're in your second week and you're loving it. Relating to students, laughing with them- being their role model. Just what you desired. You wanted to move to Colorado to be in the mountains and to have a job which helps people. And you DID. It's exactly what you've been praying for since you started praying. Remember: God is good. Not just right now because you're happy and satisfied. Chase after Him.
Remember also why you are here. For the students. You are a have been a light to them. This responsibility is enormous and one of the greatest gifts you could ever be given.
Erica, do you remember when you were in Denver? Broke, lonely depressed, hating God...life...everything? Look where you are now. God honored your perseverance and waiting and HE WILL AGAIN.
You are funny, loving and God put you here for a reason. To relate to these students. Because you can and you will. This means you have purpose in your life. You will feel purposless again. You will make mistakes again. You will be mad at God again. Keep trucking. It will come and so will He.
God has made you ERICA LYNDSEY REESE. For this what you are doing NOW......ROCK IT. God wants you alive today.
-Erica Reese October 5th 2012.
I remember these things as I embark back to Ohio. I will remember that I have purpose. Always. I will remember that God will not let go, even when I tell Him to fuck off right to His face. I will remember to keep trucking. I will remember to be naked. I will remember to feel the feathers and to feel my heart beating. I will remember the mountains and I will remember that I will be back, again, soon.
But for now, it's the season of Ohio, again. Not what I expected, but when do plans ever really turn out the way you think they do?