So as some of you may or may not know, this past Christmas season I received the news that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember exactly where I was when I received the news. I just finished work at Breakthrough and I got a text from my father asking me if it was a good time to call, I said yes. He was also going to 3-way my brother in.
He calls us and as soon as I heard the report I remember sitting down at the cafeteria table. My first thought was how bad was it? Is she doing ok? Should I go back home now and finish my year of service another year? These and so many more questions were running through my head.
All I could do was sit there and listen to my brother and father go back and forth. My mind was racing but my mouth had no words. This was in part due to the fact that I didn’t want to believe what I was hearing. To be honest I still find it hard to believe that this has happened.
The hardest part, for me, is being 1,000 miles away while all of this is going down. This is the first time both my brother and I have been away from home. Part of me feels like we’ve abandoned her during this time. When I first moved to Chicago she was healthy and I was doing what was right for me. Now I just want to be around to help her out with whatever she needs. It’s hard because I can’t. Mom knows I didn’t abandon her and she still has all of my love and support. That said, it’s my mom and I just want her happy, healthy, safe and around for many more years. Put simply my mom is one of the most important people in my life.
I am an internal processor, this means I tend to keep to myself. I don’t easily let others in. The result is that most people do not know what’s going on inside.
Writing this has been therapeutic, in some ways I am putting my heart on the table. However there is still a significant part of me that is still closed thinking about and processing all of this. Not knowing what to say or think both to others and myself. While there is a smile is on my face, my heart is crying out in pain and agony. I feel mentally, physically, and spiritually drained. More often than not I feel alone. I am still trying to figure out how to really accept the love, concern and care from my friends, co-workers and family.
For the past few days I’ve had this longing to go home to a place that’s familiar, where everybody knows me and I know them. For me, home is a place where you see the Rockies and sunsets are always orange; Denver Colorado is home. Back home I know where everything is from the local corner store, where I get sunflower seeds, to the new Ikea in Centennial. Home is familiar and comfortable, while Chicago does not feel familiar and I often am uncomfortable. This feeling of discomfort arises because I am never completely sure about my surroundings, where to shop, and if I will find any friends like I left in Denver, Everything seems unfamiliar. My heart, soul and mind ache for the feeling of home.
While all this is happening I have also met some wonderful and amazing people in this “windy city.” They have included me in activities and have made significant efforts in reaching out to me and getting to know me. An example is my two roommates who are both from Chicago and grew up in the same neighborhood. It’s easy to see that they are best friends and they love to do things together. I am the new guy in this chemistry that they have created and they have invited me to do things together as we are getting to know one another. But like I said, I’m the new guy; there are times where I feel as though I am not really part of the in-crowd and it’s not that I’m being left out but I feel as though it’s best I’m not a part of whatever it is that they are doing. I am the third wheel so to speak. In these moments it’s most apparent that I have this homesickness. There friends are over and hanging out and have a wonderful while I have no friends to call my own. I can’t call up my friend George and say Hey lets go out and chill for a little while. Part of me just wants to yell and scream but I know that this is a challenge for me.
With all of these thoughts racing through my head I cannot help but wonder how Jesus felt, did he ever get homesick or did he have that sort of peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6,7)? I don’t have an answer for this question but I do know what I’m feeling. Moving forward these feelings may or may not leave I do know however God wants me to learn something from this. That is wherever my heart lies, that’s where home will be. My parents are the best example I know of this.
Both of my parents are Canadian and came to America many years ago only planning staying for a few short years until returning home. That however didn’t happen. I remember my father saying that he and my mother originally moved to California for school and that they had every intention of moving back to Canada. It wasn’t home for them. After a few years my father received a job offer in Colorado as an assistant pastor. A few years later I came along and instead of going back to Canada they choose to make Colorado home. Today both my brother and I are proud to call Colorado home. While originally they had no intention of staying, in time they found things that they loved about Colorado, enough to start and raise a family in their adopted home!
The Colorado State capitol dome in real Colorado gold gilding stands on the left in this skyline shot of downtown with the distant Pike’s Peak mountain looming in the background in Denver on April 30, 2011. UPI/Gary C. Caskey
So I have officially been in Chicago for a month now and its been a wild and crazy ride. While I have yet to still start my placement, I’ve been exploring the city and the community that I will be living in and serving for the next 11 months. I’ve been placed at an after school organization known as BREAKTHROUGH and I will be helping with the 1st through 3rd graders. The program is in the neighborhood of East Garfield Park and I am very excited not only to live in this community but also to serve this community. I’m excited to see what is about to happen at BREAKTHROUGH.
This year at BREAKTHROUGH I’m expecting to learn a lot from this program. I have a lot of love for working with kids and I really hope to learn what a good teacher and a role model looks like I hope that throughout this program I can inspire someone to want to do something amazing and also they inspire me to want to keep inspiring others to follow dreams. I want to be able to affect change in these kids lives wether it’s supporting them in a dream that they have or just simply helping them with homework. I just hope for the best this year as I enter this program. I know I will meet amazing people that want what I want for these kids; to reach for the stars.
As I go through this year, a lot of questions race through my mind; Where will God show up? How will he show up? How will I deal with conflict when it arises? How am I going to react to things being away from home for the first time on my own? For all of these questions I have no answer which reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Though I don’t have any answers I know that as long as I put my trust in Him and stay on the path that he has put me on he will show up and do great things. I will lean on Him and know that what comes next will all be apart of his plan for my year of service. I can’t wait to see what he has in-store for me.
Hey world! Its Kyle and I will be leaving for Chicago soon and this is where you will be able to keep up with what I am doing. I’m feeling pretty excited about the whole thing right now. But i also feel like it hasn’t really hit me yet. I don’t know that it will until I get there. I cant wait though!!