I feel as though my spirit is just weary and worn. I’m tired. I’m torn between a need to grieve for my friend, concern for another friend going through a rough time, sadness from what has happened, and just plain exhaustion from trying to do and be so much for so many. I’m confused about plans for the future and what God is really calling me to. I’m so Rome-sick that I went and bought prosciutto yesterday. My dear mentor brought in blood oranges—he’s a saint. I have taken to sitting and watching multiple hours of Rome, fast-forwarding through the bad scenes and watching the historical notes commentary. I have even been leafing through my Blue Book guide to Rome. I feel like you can tell that Kaitlyn is struggling when she’s buying Roman comfort food and reading guidebooks. That means we are dealing with things worse than Chocolate and Henry Adams or Homer or even Greek can cure. I’m not sure that I knew before that there were such things—but, apparently, there are.
To distract myself (and also to remind myself that life moves on), I have been obsessing about next year. For those of you who have had a conversation with me in the last couple months, it’s probably obvious that I’ve been doing this for a while.
At the retreat about which I have written so much recently, I re-encountered a young woman who graduated from Echo and is now working as an intern on a farm. Sound familiar? Yes, that is what I wanted to do... two years ago when God put me in Echo instead. And really, I realize more and more that it’s what I still want to do (thought I don’t regret doing Echo—I love this program more than I can explain). It’s funny because I’m quite sure that neither of my grandfathers (both of whom were farmers, both of whom encouraged me to get an education and a life away from the farm) could have begun to imagine that I, six months away from a Masters degree from Notre Dame, would say that my life’s dream is to own a farm. Not just a little farm, either. I want milk cows (yes, Larry, with the getting up to milk at 4am if need be), bees, and chickens, and possibly a goat or two (because really, how much can milk cows help the lactose intolerant??). That is my DREAM. Of course, there’s also the idea that this farm might be a working retreat center, where Molly and I will run our art retreats and where my dear David will have his sheep. Well, probably not David and the sheep, since he’s becoming a Dominican. But Molly and I are definitely having that retreat center. First, however, I need the farm. And before that, I need to learn how to farm, because somehow between the many years of piano lessons (that were utterly useless—I still can’t read music) and the poking and prodding to get good grades in ridiculous things, like Math (Really, Mom and Dad, I promise that it doesn’t matter that I can’t do calculus. I have other completely useless talents, like reading Greek.), my parents failed to pass on the farm wisdom that their parents gave to them (It’s okay, parents, I still love you). So, when I’m avoiding my comps studying (which is all the time, now that I’m back to that book by Kathryn Tanner on Christology that I just can’t read more than a paragraph of at a time), I’m reading books on farming and gardening and intentional Christian community. Because that seems like an obvious hobby for the future Director of Campus Ministry for Butler U.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m almost certain that I am staying at Butler for another couple years at least. It’s not official yet, so I’m trying not to tell students yet. I’m trying, and more or less failing, because Father and I talk about nothing else ALL THE TIME. But now, I’m looking for a house to rent in Indianapolis. Yes, a house. I don’t want an apartment. Why doesn’t Kaitlyn want an apartment, you might ask. Well, I want a house BECAUSE I WANT A DAMN GARDEN. And these books I’m reading are giving me all these dreams of grand gardens that will NOT happen because I’m not building anything big until I am somewhere I plan to live longer than two years, which is probably not Indy (well, I might be here for four years… depending on a lot of circumstances so outside my control). But at any rate, yes, friends, I want a garden. And a dog. So, I need a house. I would like one in Indianapolis close enough to walk to Butler. Lord, help me when my students figure out where I live (which they certainly will, because those frat boys are going to be harangued into helping me move, and I don’t trust their ability to keep secrets). I want a house near Butler with a backyard big enough for a dog and a garden, which means I need a housemate to help pay rent, because the houses I’ve found are all $800-900. Anyone want to move to Indianapolis?
It’s a bit disappointing, really. Two years ago, I had a compost pile behind my condo and, until a disease devastated them, herbs growing in my kitchen window. That seemed like a semi-promising start for my farm dreams. Now, I share a house with nine other individuals and, although we have a backyard big enough for a legit urban farm (I mean, we could have a goat if we wanted, it’s that big), we cannot use the backyard because we share it with an office. A bit of a step-down, I think.
And yes, friends from Dallas, I know I promised I’d move home soon. Well, God never gives me what I ask for, so I don’t know why you’re surprised at this. I mean, look at what happened two years ago when I ended up in Echo. And, a year before that, when I had to change my major? It always seems to work out in the end.
As part of my Christmas gift, Molly sent me a picture of my patron saint, Mother Cabrini. It arrived in the mail today. It reminded me of how she had dreamed her whole life of going to China as a missionary and instead, the pope sent her to America. “Not to the East, but to the West,” he said. Well, I guess God is telling me “not to the west, but to the east.” (Because Indianapolis is really far east for someone who wants to live in Texas!) I’m trying to take comfort in reminding myself that if Mother Cabrini hadn’t been sent to the west, I might not exist because she would not have cared for and healed my great-grandmother, which would have made my grandfather a vastly different person who might not have married my grandmother. I can only hope that Providence has some sort of designs for me that might make my sacrifice equally valuable.
So, Texas friends and family, know that I am always holding you close to me through prayer and that I miss you each painfully. On the worst days, I dream of running away and living on Patty and Mark’s couch the way little kids used to dream of running away to the circus. Then, I remember that they would send me back because they love me and want me to succeed. Dang, a kid can’t even run away to her “second parents” without them doing what is best for her. Look at how blessed I am!
Non-Texas family and friends… want to move to Indy? (I know the Texans won’t give up Texas…) Seriously, though, I miss you and love you.
I ask for your continued prayers. I need them badly. Know you are in mine.
K. M. F. W.