After 18 visits, over 300 meetings and introductions to over 1,000 Tri Delta women, I am halfway through my time as a Tri Delta field consultant. Wam bam thank ya mam'. I'm almost a Gold Member on American Airlines. I can't wait for my special welcome over the intercom prior to them announcing where the lavatories are. I mean goodness. I'm usually seated next to them anyway.
Throughout these past five months, I have been writing to keep the people I love updated on my life away from all that I know. What a journey Tri Delta has taken me on. I can't begin to express and illustrate all of the life lessons I have taken away from this very unique experience, but here are a few.
Number One: Be in the moment in your interactions with others
July 11, I began my first journey as a Tri Delta field consultant, and I met a woman
named Jan on flight 2564 service to Dallas, Texas.
Every time you sit on a plane and you're the first to arrive to your aisle, you sit nervously waiting to see who your row mates will be. As the woman with three crying children passed me, I had a mental celebration — until she sat right behind me with her screaming children. Then, a woman named Jan appeared and sat right next to me. She was your typical tourist traveler. She had tennis shoes, ankle socks, knee shorts, her black fanny pack with travel sized items as well as that T-shirt with some heart-warming quote and butterflies all over.
I'd like to think I have the courage to ask other people to "quiet their little angels," but I don't. Jan does. She whipped her head around as if someone had just wet-willied her and said to the mother behind us, "Excuse me, but I can't do this for the entire trip. Please control your children" (or to something of that extent). Um, wow. Thank goodness for Jan and her boldness. I knew we were going to be great friends on our 30-minute flight to DFW.
began talking about her vacation and my new job, and as we stepped off the
plane she stated, "I don't know you that well, and I'm not that familiar
with what you're doing, but enjoy it and God bless you and your many travels.
And oh yeah, have fun."
In life, I think we meet people for a reason. They give us subtle and blatant reminders of our life's journey, whether we internalize that or not. Jan, a small town teacher from Wilburton, Okla., reminded me that life is a journey. And although we may plan what we want to do up to a certain point, there are always surprises and turns on the road.
Number Two: Promises are journeys
Ritual was the name of the game and the topic of speech for our guest speaker, Dr. Mari Ann Callais, during summer training.
you ever been to a public speaking event where the premiere speaker has some
off-way of breaking the ice? It's always these uncomfortable things that get
the audience looking around with a nervous smile like, "Is she freaking
serious?" There's always a reason they do this.
Anywho, Mari Ann opens up with her guitar. She started to play as I look around, nervously giggling like a seventh-grader because I have no idea what this tune or song is. It was a Taylor Swift song. People, I don't listen to T. Swift. For those of you who do, I respect your love; however, I don't partake in it. Therefore, I do not know the lyrics.
Mari Ann posed questions like, "When did we start accepting the minimum?" "When
did we stop pushing the envelope?" "Are we afraid?" Ritual should be who we
are, reflect who we desire to be every day and embody one day. It's our
yesterday, today and forever, and we can choose to commit ourselves to it. Dr.
Callais asked, "Are we choosing our Ritual every day like
In Tri Delta, we share among us both lighthearted and heartbreaking stories. But, because of Tri Delta, they become beautiful, touching stories of growth in our perpetual bonds of friendship, womanly character and ideals. Ritual is the medium by which we share our stories of sisterhood. But Ritual doesn't automatically happen for you and me because we choose Tri Delta. It's an effort you must exude in daily living.
You become the best version of yourself in what you believe. That doesn't mean that what you believe is an easy, drawn-out path with answers. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Read our Ritual again sometime and sing that song you never know the lyrics to. I think you will be humbly satisfied you did.
Number Three: Know what molded you
Finally, it was
time to come home. It was Homecoming Weekend at the University of Oklahoma
which is one of the most exciting times — always. Of course this year was different.
I was now the alumna...coming home.
And, you know what? I finally realized why it's called "Homecoming." It connotes the idea that this place I am returning to is in fact home, not just an institution. It's not just a place where I learned and obtained an education — it's a place where I grew a great amount. It's a home, a refuge and a battery charger.
A while back, I attended Northern California's Founders' Day where alumnae chapters and collegiate chapters alike gathered to celebrate 123 years of sisterhood. I had the pleasure of seeing Jackye Brown Clark who was the keynote speaker at the event. Looking around the room, there were women who had their certificates of membership signed by Jackye herself in 2011; however, there were also women whose certificates were signed in 1970 by Kathleen Davis Nye, former Fraternity President. All ages. All Tri Deltas. All different stories.
her proclamation, Jackye stated, "This Founders' Day I encourage you to
wear your badge and celebrate our sisterhood with Tri Delta...and reflect on
how you will honor our Founders. Remember: YOU are Tri Delta."
That resonated with me. Events like Homecoming and Founders' Day give you the unique opportunity to go back. You go back to what created you, molded you, shaped you and made you what you are in the present. You have the ability to feel what has been shared among many generations — a history of growth and dedication because a simple dream was made a reality. As an alumna of both OU and Tri Delta, history has become more and more important to me. What has equally become a part of me is the idea that each of us has a defined role in writing the history that, one day, people will look back to.
So, no matter the organization, institution, group of people or religion, honor the opportunities of growth and development that each of these respective things, with their rich histories, has given you, and come home to each of them every now and then. Without them, where's home anyhow?
This has been one of the most enlightening, culturally shocking and unequivocally neatest adventures of my life. The chapters keep me young, the travel makes me laugh and my fellow FCs are my rock. I can't wait for next semester's journey — the final lap!