My Ward That Became Home // Farewell To Oregon

August 18, 2015

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my wonderful ward and the people in it. I didn't realize it was going to be so hard to say goodbye to everyone--you never know how much something means until you have to leave it.

I was originally planning on having Zach give me a blessing before I journeyed off to Utah, but I decided it would be even more fitting if I had a member of the bishopric give me a father's blessing before I go. In my faith, a father will typically give a father's blessing to his children during important transitions in their lives, like before the beginning of the school year, etc. As a convert, I never had a father who could give me a blessing...or really a father at all. But Brother Snyder has been like my adoptive father for the last 5 years: he's filled that role magnificently and been a huge support for me. I've spent hours crying to him, asking for advice, sharing my joys with him, etc. This is a HUGE transition in my life, so I felt it only fitting to have this man give me a father's blessing before I left (probably the only one I'll have in my life.) I also had Bishop Wight (another father figure who has been a huge resource) and Zach take part in the blessing circle. It was a BEAUTIFUL blessing: we were all very emotional by the end and it was a touching and perfect goodbye to these men who have impacted me so much.

After five years in this ward & Institute...hundreds of days, thousands of hours...I walked out the doors for the last time. After everyone left FHE, Zach and I walked through the empty quiet building, peeking in each room and recalling the sweet memories that occurred there.

Eugene Latter-day Saint Institute YSA ward Oregon
I felt like I was moving out of a home and going through the house, room by room. All of the lessons I taught, countless tears I shed, the testimony I built and shared, the beautiful people I all came rushing back.

This library: so many tearful, sacred, important lessons. So many hilarious late night dance parties. So many meetings and bonding sessions.

The chapel was the last room we looked in. I lost it. How long I worshipped in this room, taught in this room, made new friends in this room, shared my testimony, almost passed out during musical numbers haha...Zach and I first met in this room (good job choir!) and we formed our friendship in this room (piano, singing, ping pong, Harry Potter nerdfests). I passed through this room so many times--It was so emotional to turn off the lights, shut the doors and walk away for good.

LDS Institute, Chapel, Eugene Oregon

Eugene Latter-day Saint Institute YSA ward Oregon
I lingered here at the door. I didn't want to leave for the longest time. Zach was so patient during this process for me.

Again, I lingered in my car, not ready to drive away just yet. Zach and I sat for a few quiet moments, then reflected on our favorite moments in this place. It was a great way to get closure--I've been so hastily getting ready to move, I haven't had much closure with other special people/places.

I know I might be the only person to be so emotional leaving this place. Some may think this is dramatic or ridiculous or whathaveyou. But when you spend five years somewhere, you give a portion of your heart to it. This space was a refuge for me when I couldn't be at home filled with abuse. This space was a refuge for me when I didn't feel like the real world wanted me. I made some of the best friends in this space. There were of course times that were hard and I didn't want to come here, but I was always drawn back because this was my home.

I gave my heart to so many tender souls who passed through these halls. All I wanted was for everyone to be happy, to bear their burdens, to keep the faith. And I wanted to help in any way I could. I wasn't perfect, but I did the best I could. And everyday, I wished I could do more and do better for them. I wanted to serve more and felt disappointed by my time and energy limits.

It kills me that more new people will pass through here and I will never get to meet them. That this ward will continue and I don't get to be a part of it. I'm excited for my new home, but sad because I've left a huge piece of my heart here. I hate that I won't get to open this door for a long time.

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