Four yeas ago, I was preparing to graduate from high school and launch into the unknown waters of what I imagined to be “adult life” but actually turned out to be a category unto itself. The time spent in undergraduate studies (when completed in the traditional manner) is truly this bizarre liminal space between the teen years and full-blown adulthood. Standing on this side of that quirky season of life, I can now say that those years were messy yet wonderful, hard yet beautiful.
Four years ago me (oddly enough to the day) on the cusp of adventures I couldn’t yet imagine.
Three years ago, I was in Romania, having fantastic conversations with the Word Made Flesh staff, enjoying the bounties of the garden at their children’s center in Galați, having my heart broken over the poverty and suffering I encountered daily, and confirming my calling to cross-cultural ministry.
Embracing my inner world-traveler in a Moldovan kitchen!
Two years ago, I was resting at home before embarking on my adventure to Nepal. I vividly remember the difficult wrestling I did during those weeks between school and my trip as I processed through what I can now officially claim to be my hardest semester of undergrad, struggled to come to terms with the devastating earthquake in Nepal, and grappled with my own mortality as I prepared to go.
Here, I was tired and confused, but about to enter one of the neatest seasons of my life thus far.
Last year, I sat on the edge of a promising summer that did not deliver. There’s so much I have already said and could continue to say about the difficulties of those four months, but on some level, that season remains fresh enough that I’m still healing and coming to terms with all that transpired. However, I am beginning to see tender green shoots pushing through the dirt of what I initially perceived to be a wasteland, and if it weren’t for last summer, I would not have even noticed them, much less celebrated every inch of their progress.
In spite of the chaos, I enjoyed some definite bright spots in my first summer in Oregon including a visit to the Portland Night Market.
And now I’m here, with a BA in History, working at a grocery store, living in a new town with new roommates, becoming acquainted with my first car, struggling with my health, weathering massive shifts in most of the relationships in my life, and having no plans beyond December. Yep. Even six months ago I couldn’t have imagined being where God has currently plopped me, but I’m discovering that this place is beautiful in its own right. Hard, so hard, but undeniably beautiful!
I made it – in no small part due to the encouragement, support, generosity, and love of the dozens upon dozens of people who have helped me every step of the way. I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating – my life is peopled with beautiful souls!
I’ll leave you with a poem I wrote quite a while ago, but never had the occasion to share.
You’re never what I expect you to be.
You move forward at a consistent pace
bringing the dreaded and the longed for with equal speed.
You’re like a snare drummer,
keeping the beat with remarkable precision.
And yet, you’re unpredictable.
A short ten seconds of words can flip a life upside down
while completely altering the trajectory of innumerable days.
You’re often nonsensical,
allowing a minute of joy to pass in a flash,
and yet, letting the blissful taste of that minute to linger far longer.
and you steal,
one moment a beloved friend,
and the next a detestable enemy.
and loved, at least by me,
but sometimes I don’t want you because I can’t regulate your tempo.
I know you’re a gift,
intended for my well-being,
but you often feel like a curse,
hell-bent on destroying me.
someday you’ll be irrelevant.
But until then, I’ll surrender my metered days to the author of all time.