January 31, 2005

So long 2004

Since I am already a month into the New Year, I figure now is as good of a time as any to recap last year. I correctly predicted that 2004 was going to be a big year for me. It wasn’t that hard of a prediction to make. The huge life changes that were inevitable and inherent with the whole college graduation thing made it easy guess work.

I am not disappointed in 2004. It was a good year. I am maybe a little disappointed in who I was during that year, but it’s not 2004’s fault. I look back on some of the decisions I made, some of the things I said, some of the things I didn’t say, some of the stuff I did, and a lot of the stuff that I didn’t do…and it makes me wish I had a do-over. But that isn’t an option this side of the movie screen, so there isn’t much I can do about it except tuck it under my belt as experience gained and try to learn from it.

I just know that some things happened like I thought they would and other things completely threw me for a loop. Sitting on the couch last year, whining about my surgery and itchy casts and crutches, I would have never guessed that a year later, I’d be ringing in the New Year with all my college friends, minus one (which is definitely a failure of 2004), in an apartment in Louisville. I would have never of guessed that it would have happened while I was on a vacation from my life as a youth intern at a church in Guatemala. I would have never of guessed that I would still have no idea where my life was going. I certainly would have never of guessed that I was rethinking entering into the ministry full-time. In fact, I am pretty sure the whole scenario was completely beyond my comprehension.

In a way, I find that comforting given my current mindset. I keep trying to figure out where 2005 is going to take me, and every scenario that I can imagine seems far-fetched or upsettingly boring. So, the fact that my current life was beyond imagination a year ago somehow gives me hope for the future.

This all sounds very despondent, which should not be the theme for last year. Last year’s theme has to be CHANGE. A lot of it certainly happened, so it seems a fitting title.

To begin with, the shape of my right foot changed. Now really, how many people get to write that? It makes me special. It also made for quite a few unplanned trips to the ground during an icy KY winter, but even those were mostly laughable.

My status changed. I can no longer write Student under occupation. When I had to fill out the paperwork for entering Guatemala, I wrote down student under occupado automatically. And then tried to figure out if I should get a new form cause I didn’t want to get caught lying to the government, even if they could care less. (FYI, I left it there. I know. I’m a rebel.) College graduation loomed, happened, and is now in the past.

It doesn’t always feel like it’s in the past. It still kind of feels like I have just been on a really long summer break. But it is over. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and a minor in church music. I’d like to be able to show you the diploma as proof; however, between the moves from KY to TN to TX, I lost it. I’ve been living out of a suitcase almost since the day I moved out of college, and somewhere among all the shuffling, I lost my college diploma. Not exactly my proudest moment. (I also thought I lost my passport, but I ended up finding it 4 months later in the top of my closet. I then proceeded to clean out my entire closet in hopes of finding the diploma, but no such luck.) I wonder how long they will laugh at me when I finally swallow my pride and call the alumni office at school and ask for another one.

Anyway, back to the theme. My relationships with my college friends changed. No longer can I walk across the living room or up the stairs and be guaranteed listening ears and a kind heart, or a person who will simply watch Pirates of the Caribbean with me and laugh when I do my best “Argghh!” Ah. Good times. Since I pretty much stuck with the same group of friends the entire 4 years, at graduation we all headed off in different directions. At least initially…until they all wussed out and moved to the same two cities! Punks. I’m still holding that it’s important that I move some place different so they can come visit me on vacations. It wouldn’t be terribly exciting to pack for a week across town, now would it? But even someone like me, who needs a large amount of alone time to function, can admit that it is amazing to live so close to such an amazing group of friends. I miss them a lot.

My address changed. No longer do I get to go check my little 4x4 box, praying that Jenny put an orange card in there that morning. I don’t even get to check my mail. It gets couriered over from a PO Box in Miami to the church, where I usually find it laying on my boss’s desk, 2-3 days later.

My family has changed. I lost my first grandparent while I was home for Christmas. I haven’t dealt with this fact and I will continue to stubbornly hold out on dealing with this fact probably for a few more months. I almost had a crack in the wall this past weekend, but I am having a hard time overcoming the anger and guilt I feel about this man and I’m just not ready to let it go yet. I know that is a sin. I know. I know it’s only hurting me and that he is beyond hurt now. But I am not ready yet.

There are a lot of things that have changed over the last 12 months. Those are some of the major ones, but it would take me days to cover all the things that have changed.

I’m sitting here on the couch, overlooking a bright, colorful Guatemalan afternoon, while listening to Josh Kelley sing Home to Me. And I am in awe. In awe of life. In awe of God. In awe of change. In awe of music and the ability it has to reach deep into our souls and move us. In awe of the amazing amount of noise the peacock the neighbors have can make (at ALL hours of the day…just try to wrap your brain around how freaked out I was the first night living here). When I was younger, like most teenagers, I hated change. But now…now, I’m just in awe. 12 months isn’t really that long of a time in the grand scheme of things, but so many things can be packed into it.

I am worrying a lot about my future these days. The decision not to go to grad school this fall becomes final tomorrow. Things like that freak me out. Some days I know to expect the freaking out to happen, but some days, it just jumps out of no where, and before you know it, I am consumed with worry and stress…all over something I can’t really control and something I daily try to give to God. I usually can make it until about 2-3 in the afternoon…but by then, the caffeine has worked it’s magic through my system and I am awake and alert and my brain is really kicking into gear for the day (I never claimed to be a morning person), and I then snatch it back out of God’s very capable hands and try to carry it around for the rest of the day. Makes for a heavy load some days.

The change of the past year is still catching up with me. But this I know for certain: I am sure that wherever I am on December 31st of this year, it won’t be where I expect it to be.

Me.

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