Those I’ve Loved Along the Way

Hannah Villa
Hannah Villa

Although one of my favorite Eric Church songs is the inspiration behind the title of this post, I must say that this post is a long time coming. It’s no secret that I have been slightly absent from the blogosphere. For those of you I’ve neglected, I’m sorry. Life has a way of wrapping you up and carrying you into a whirlwind of business. But here I am, better late than never.

As I began reflecting on what I needed to put in this post my list grew longer and longer. Two years of #sklcing has provided me with a wealth of experiences; countless memories of late night recruitments, early morning coffee runs, mid-afternoon dance parties, and of course, long layovers. The past two years have gone by in a blink, a shutter, a breath. Drawing near to the end of my journey, I am left almost speechless (a truly rare occurrence for me).

My heart is overflowing with gratitude. My mind is filled with wisdom. My shoes show the wear of a seasoned and blessed woman.

To express my gratitude to all those I have met is near impossible. How could I ever thank all of those who touched my life during the past two years? Well, in the only way I kn0w how, here it is…

To those who taught me: Brooke (my supervisor). My life would not be the same without you. Somehow you found it in your heart to love me, to teach me to (thoughtfully) express my emotions, to show me how to support my significant other during a long deployment. You are the reason I am still standing today. From the Woodlands, Texas where I almost tackled you during our first encounter to late night crying phone calls, you have been my support in every way, shape and form. My life is richer because of you.

To those who laughed with me: The two teams of #sklcs I have been blessed to be a part of. From our first meeting in Indy on a cold February 2012 weekend to the mid-week Google Hangouts we share. You all have brought me laughter amid some of the hardest and most trying times in my life. You all have seen me at my best and my worst. Heard all of my crazy stories and have been there to tell me that everything will be all right. You all have become some of my best and most dearest friends. My life is sweeter because of you all.

To those who were the shoulder for my tears: My family, my best friend, the occasional collegiate member and my fiance. You all comforted me when I was lonely. You all held me while I cried and listened to my dramatic displays. You have stayed on the phone with me until the sun rose. You have been there to help me heal, help me grow and help me overcome. My life is stronger because of you.

To those who housed me: Countless collegiate chapters and chapter members. You all generously opened your homes, dorms and apartments to me. You gave me a place to rest my tired traveling head, a place to store my gigantic suitcase, and plenty of spontaneous life chats. You taught me your traditions, you (at many times) taught me popular culture, and you also taught me immense humility. My life is wiser because of you all.

To those who believed in me: The Lambda Alpha colony class of Spring Hill College. These 48 women were brave enough to take my hand and go on this journey with me. You all trusted me, leaned on me, listened to me, challenged me, surprised me and grew with me. You all turned me into an almost sweet tea drinking Southern belle. You all taught me to laugh at myself, to celebrate our triumphs, and to breathe through our mistakes. You all changed my life. You all brought laughter to my days, you all brought prideful tears to my eyes weekly, you all filled my heart with love constantly. My life is larger because of you all.

To those who shaped me: The grand membership of Sigma Kappa. My life has been consistently changing because of you all since 2008 when Sigma Kappa first entered my life. To think of the woman I was when I first said yes to Sigma Kappa seems completely surreal. I have been on a journey to say the least. To my Xi sisters who began my love affair with this organization to the staff at National Headquarters. Thousands of women have shaped me in the past six years. My life is purposeful because of you all.

As this journey nears its inevitable end, I am filled with hope, gratitude, sadness, joy and life. For all of those who have come in and out of my life the past two years, I am incredibly blessed. I am walking away from these two years a better woman. And to all of you, I owe great thanks. Thank you.

Love to all – H

 

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