Out of the Mess with Friend #168: Melissa

I’m experimenting with a more sustainable format as I enter Phase 2.  I’m sure everyone will be thoroughly confused as I continue blogging about Phase 1 while simultaneously documenting Phase 2.  Good luck!

Friend #168: Melissa
Date and Location of Visit: October 5-6, 2011, Flagstaff, Arizona
Known from: The River counseling groups
Last seen: June 2006

Memories of Melissa:  I met Melissa when she walked into the first session of the first counseling group I helped lead back in January of 2006.  At that time, Melissa was pretty timid and pretty messy, as anyone signing up for a 20-week counseling group would be. But she was also fully courageous, as someone signing up for these groups must be.  She just didn’t know it yet.  In the midst of her mess, Melissa oozed compassion and curiosity.  And as the weeks went on, she began to discover her inner courage, eventually becoming the first person to dive into an activity.  She was figuring out how to live out the things she felt like she was wired to do.  It became obvious whenever she was passionate about something because her entire being would light up.  I had the privilege of watching Melissa grow and transform before my very eyes in the course of those weeks.

About our visit:  This was the first time I’ve seen Melissa since she completed the program in June of 2006.  Since that time, she has been to Bosnia and Eugene, Oregon, and moved back to her hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona about a year ago.  She also married her high school prom date, Aaron, who I got meet.  It’s amazing to see her settled into a life.  She has found something that she is wired to do, just a few months into her first year of teaching a 4th, 5th, and 6th grade combined class at a Montessori school.  There is a settledness to her as a lot more of her junk seems to have sorted its way out of her life over the past few years.  She still lights up when she gets passionate and excited.  She’s still curious.  But she’s more herself and more comfortable in her own skin, and it was beautiful to experience.  She is a walking advertisement for the benefit of dealing with your baggage.  I’m grateful to have had the privilege to carry it with her for awhile.

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