To tell this story, I need to take a step back and tell another. Last night, as random bits and wonderings were firing through my brain in the way they sometimes do, I decided to poke around the net and see if I could find out what my boss from the Year of Hell is up to these days. To my surprise, I found that she's back at SU, in a new position.
My walk was redemptive in steps. The first, a former colleague who works in Facilities Operations who greeted me and remarked, "You look so happy!" How much did the strain of those days show to those around me? How much did it take from me each day? Who was I? Not the man I am today, not entirely anyway. Her observation is correct—I am so happy, even though melancholy is also part of being myself.
Walking deeper into campus, I could feel dread creep in, irrationally. I was now surrounded by this place I loved that ended so very painfully and badly. What if I couldn't get out? An emotional claustrophobia of sorts. As I neared the new Student Center, I saw Steve from Public Safety, who broke into a huge grin and greeted me with a hug. He spoke kindness not borne of politeness: "Where have you been? Man, we miss you so much around here. Everyone's leaving this year, but I know they'd stay if they were working for you." Leaving our greeting, I fought the urge to just break down and weep.
The Student Center is a beautiful place, still shiny and new. Sure enough, my ex-boss was in when I stopped by, shocked and seemingly glad to see me. There are so many games we play with each other (a passage from the psalm we're looking at in tonight's Community Group comes to mind), but I'm choosing to believe that the glad greeting I received from her and the others in the office was genuine, as well as the laughter we shared. She suggested we get together for coffee or lunch soon (I'm thinking perhaps something mit schlag) and we traded information.
My walk was only thirty minutes long, but there was a lot of healing in those steps. Who knows what the next ones will be?