The past three and a half years have been among the most challenging & rewarding times for me. There were days where as a staff, we would sit around and wonder “why are we doing this?”. I would sit there and think “I can’t go on, I can’t do this anymore.” It was in those moments, that my favorite quote from Lord of the Rings comes to mind (here’s the YouTube version, if you prefer it)
Sam: It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the ending, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr Frodo, I do understand… I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only the didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding onto something…
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr Frodo… And it’s worth fighting for.
But now that struggle has come to the end, and I find myself again wondering if it was worth it. If the time we spent mattered, or if it was all for naught. And again I find myself finding comfort and solace in the words of Samwise Gamgee.
I’m going to miss working everyday with this phenomenal staff that I had been blessed with. We really did become a family. Maybe a little bit dysfunctional, definitely a lot bit weird, but family none the less.
First, to Stephanie, our Family Center mom. I don’t even know where to begin here. You and Rodney took me in back in Master’s days and became a second mom to me back then. Words cannot begin to express my thanks and gratitude for your loving, gentle service. And as our time is coming to an end, you’ll still be “mom”. Go buy yourself a pair of shoes (or two!), you’ve earned it (Sorry Rodney!)
Heather, the prankster sister. You always knew how to keep us smiling and laughing. Cute stories or pictures of my “nephew”, or funny finds down in the shop (that “chocolate cake” you sent up, the camel in the elevator that took us forever to figure out what was going on with it), we never knew what was coming next, but we knew it would make us laugh.
Ashley, my rock star, rebellious in a “pull the flash drive out without ejecting it” way sister. Of all the people out here, I have known you the longest. We’ve been through a lot together. There are times where I’ve said “we’ve worked together for way too long”, usually after saying the same thing at the same time or something. But the reality is, I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world, and if I had my way, we’d work together for a lot longer.
And Rodney, our Family Center dad & captain. Thank you. There is so much you’ve done for all of us that we’ve never seen and will never know about. You’ve walked with me through some of my darkest times when I lived with you & Stephanie during Master’s. You’ve seen me at my lowest, and you still hired me. Thank you for that second chance. You were always patient with us, pushing us to be better, do better, and you always kept our best interest at the forefront. Now it’s your turn to put YOUR best interest at the forefront. Oh captain, my captain.
I want to leave you with one more quote from Lord of the Rings:
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach.