My Sister, My Soulmate

August 11, 2010 § 4 Comments

I often write about how certain life experiences change us, mold us and eternally alter the way we view the world. Rather than writing about this concept through my own life experiences, as I usually do (so selfish of me), I’m making a departure to write about how my sister has been changed this summer.

My sister. How do I begin telling anyone who might read this about the beauty that this soul possesses inside and out? I think it is something that you have to experience to understand. But, she decided to take a step out into the world this summer, cover herself with every ounce of bravery she possessed, and share herself with the world. In turn, she met people who shared themselves with her.

She is my rock. I know, it is cliche. My creative writing skills need some help, but that is what she is for me. Despite the fact that she is younger than me, I look up to her. This summer, despite not knowing for sure what her job would be, where she would live, who she would meet, or even how much she would see the only person she knew even a little bit, she packed up her things and took off to work in Yellowstone.

It is first necessary to point out that our mother did this when she was young, as did our aunts, uncles and granddad. Working in Yellowstone was always something we had talked about doing. I had my own reasons for not participating in the family tradition when I was in college (though I plan on doing it soon), but my sister was the first of the cousins who actually did it. To be fair, she was never the one I would have expected to risk missing out on anything back home and leave. She is perhaps the best friend anyone could imagine and I knew it would hurt her to miss her friend’s 21st birthday. Also, she hates to miss out on what might be going on with her friends so I worried that there might be too many things going on at home for her to want to leave. In fact, we talked about these things often. She was worried about not knowing anyone well (she and the girl she went with had mutual friends and hung out on occasion, but they were not exactly friends in their own right), so she and I talked about how I made some of my best friends by just jumping into a situation where I did not know anyone (I of course have plenty of examples, but, like I said, this post isn’t about me!). She remembered how much she loved some of those friends I had made and ultimately decided to move to the mountains.

She didn’t have regular cell service, she shared a car with her roommate, the closest Subway was about 15 minutes away and outside of the park, and she shared a room with 2 other girls as well as a community bathroom. This was a departure from the norm for her in more ways than you can imagine. But, the forced community and the work environment forced her to meet new people. Actually, it blessed her with the opportunity to share and learn from people from Taiwan, Bulgaria, other states, and numerous other countries. She lived with little and learned much.

Today, she got home. I woke up thinking about the feelings she must be having. I know she fell in love with the people, their stories, the place, her experiences. She became adventurous. She shared the beauty she possess with countless people. I went to visit and could just tell that people loved and respected her. I felt even more blessed to call her my sister. My hear sank for her the day she left; I could feel the pain she must have been feeling. The ache of leaving behind an experience you know you can never recreate or have again coupled with a feeling of thankfulness that you actually got to have the experience is hard to comprehend.

This summer will forever change her. In fact, I know that going home will be difficult for her. Not only will she be missing the people she met terribly, but she’ll be thrust back into a world where things are forced to be more complicated. She’ll have her cell phone, her choice of restaurants, her car and more things than anyone really needs to get by. She’ll undergo a reverse culture shock. People will want to know how her summer was but there will be know why to describe it. “Awesome” and “amazing” and “life-changing” are all appropriate words, but they don’t adequately describe the situation.

In fact, the way she sees the world will forever be a little altered. Some of the things she once found important will not seem important anymore and she’ll struggle to understand that they are still important to other people. Her wold is bigger now. She’ll always care about the news in Bulgaria because it might effect someone she knows. But, she had to move on. She had to take what she learned, process it, sit with it, let it shape her. Then she had to leave

That’s the thing about life, it goes on.

My sister was blessed to have the experience she had this summer. To have her eyes opened and her world colored by new experiences, stories and people. But, if you ask me, the world was blessed to experience my sister and to, even momentarily, sit close to a beautiful soul.


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