The Ruka is back! The Ruka 2016-2017 is off to a good start getting settled in our home and getting to know each other. Our group is comprised of Seniors Abbie Norris, Ozakh Ahmed, Julia Hamilton, Georgia Harris, and I, McKenzie Drake. We are so happy to be living in the same house together and beginning this fellowship celebrating service, community, and friendship.
To me, our home is becoming more than just a place to eat together, do homework, and sleep. It has been a process of creating a safe space where we can all feel comfortable and at ease whenever we walk through its doors. To hear a “Hi!” or “Who’s home?” whenever I walk in makes the Ruka a welcoming environment, one that celebrates the end of a hard day. As the Ruka, we want to celebrate that welcoming passion with every person that we invite into our home, so that they can also experience the love we have and are willing to grow for each other.
At the beginning of this fellowship, I was inspired by a quote from a visiting artist at Rhodes. In short, it emphasizes that if your home was more transparent, would one become more apparent? I see this quote within the Ruka as we become more vulnerable with each other and with our surrounding community. In my life, being more transparent has been a long-time goal, exercising how I share my emotions with others and remembering to ask for help if I need it. I am learning that one can only help others as much as one has to help oneself. Thus, it is essential to know the limits of good that can come from the normalcy of exhaustion.
This past week in the Ruka, I have seriously been pressed by my own emotional and physical exhaustion. As in my hopes to be environmentally friendly and bike regularly, my hopes went askew Sunday on my way home from my campus studio. As I crossed Jackson Avenue with bike lights, a light t-shirt, and a sometimes embarrassingly red helmet, I confronted a white SUV making a blind left turn into the lane I had just entered. Despite my quick maneuvering, the car hit my back wheel. I flew off my bike just as the car who hit me also flew from the scene (after yelling at me, because I really needed that). It was truly remarkable that I was able to get up with just a few minor scrapes and bruises.
I was so thankful to have the Ruka at home with Ozakh and Georgia coming to meet me, and two very nice Memphis police officers quickly stop to help. In all honesty it was a blessing to have roommates, friends (but they are so much more than that already), there to help walk me home. As the three of us walked back, Ozakh with my bike, Georgia with the frumper (Ozakh’s term for a front bumper), and me limping, we made it home – a safe, safe home.
By being a member of the Ruka, I want to be there for each other like they have been there for me already. I aspire to grow within the Ruka by embracing the challenges as well as our successes; and although I never want to be hit by a car again, I recognize how much we are already so devoted to each other and to the purpose of the Ruka.
I invite everyone to check on this page as the other women in the Ruka this year will be sharing their stories about living in the Rhodes Ruka. I also invite anyone to come to our Ruka alternative parties so you can see the iconic bumper that will be hanging in the garage.
Cheers to the start of an amazing year (beginning now).