My practicum ended this week.
Huge sigh of relief.
It was quite possibly the most emotionally draining experience of my life.
It gave me a flash of insight about what God does for us (only He’s perfect and never has to deal with his personal triggers and biases).
I was never more vulnerable about who I was with my classmates.
I told them how much I struggled as a young mom to find my confidence and my voice. I told them how much my Catholic faith matters. I told them that I don’t feel respected for being Catholic in this program. I told them how much I care. I cried. And….they loved me.
I never expected that. I kicked myself because I didn’t think anyone who didn’t share my core values could truly understand me…and they understand me more than people I’ve known for years. And none of them are Catholic.
I learned that who I am is enough and I can finally let my hair down.
I learned that I’m triggered when people think I’m too young to be competent in my abilities (probably parallels with my fears about being a young mom that is good enough).
I learned that I’m human, and that is my strongest asset.
I learned my greatest liabilities are also my greatest strengths.
I learned that this world is filled with more brokenness, despair, abuse, pain, and suffering than I ever imagined….and I learned that there is still joy and laughter.
I learned about resilience.
I learned about perspective…a field of dandelions can either be a field of weeds or a field of wishes.
I learned that people are doing the best that they can with what they have.
I learned that all people really want….the secret to humanity…is to be loved and accepted for who they really are, brokenness and all.
I learned that all people want is to be real and authentic…but they are terrified of what that means.
I learned that being vulnerable and weak is when we are actually at our strongest.
I learned the power of the simple words “tell me more”.
I learned that silence is good.
I learned that we should never apologize for our true feelings.
I learned that growth is hard, scary, and it often gets worse before it gets better.
I learned how much I need to find joy and pray.
I learned that laughter really does heal all bad days.
I learned that when my heart is thumping, my hands are sweating, and my mouth is dry, is the most important moment for me to speak up.
I learned that meeting people where they are at is the most powerful way to encourage someone.
I learned that people are afraid of their own strengths and capabilities, but that once they break through that fear they are the masters of their own life.
I learned that roses really can bloom from a thornbush.