It was exactly a year ago that I found myself in a Wendy's, dipping fries in my Frosty, clinging to ritual in the face of a newness I wouldn't start to process for another month at least.
I've spent that whole year trying to find the right words to tell you, all of you, how much I love you.
But where do you find the words to tell everyone you've ever taken into your heart, from your high school Spanish partners to your brother- and sister-friends, from those guys in your algebra class that you never really knew to your parents, that you still think about them often and quietly hope that they're happy?
As I was packing up my possessions all those many months ago, even as my mind and heart were shutting down into survival mode, there was a mantra running through my veins, a message I was desperately trying to broadcast with every fierce farewell.
It was a line from a poem by E. E. Cummings:
I know I haven't been the faithful correspondent I promised I would be. Some people have slipped away with the years and miles. But, you have not slipped away from my heart.
You have not slipped away from my heart.
Rexburg hasn't exactly been what I thought it would be. Expectations I didn't know I had have been disappointed. Dreams I was afraid to form have been more than realized. I've learned a lot about myself--and very little. I've discovered unlooked for strengths--and unanticipated weaknesses.
March 3rd is Grandma Ellington's birthday. She loved Wendy's. She would dip her French fries in her chocolate Frosty. I'm not big on a lot of calendar holidays. But today, I had Wendy's for dinner.
One of the hard things about finding the right words to say to my friends, to those who were my friends when they didn't realize it, to my family, is that that list is ever growing. There are even more of you now.
I want you to know, you who has considered me a friend, you who has wished that I was, the poetry pulsing through me, carrying me along, only grows more true: I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).