I’m Graduating and I want to Live it Well

The past few years, I’ve been battling some intense darkness in my mind. Fear, anxiety, self-hatred, depression, and other feelings have come over me like crashing waves and sometimes it feels like I’m drowning. Then I look at the suffering and trials of people around me and around the world. It is overwhelming. There is so much pain and darkness in this world. As Jon Foreman says:

“…the dark wounds of our world are inescapable- the wound is you, it’s me, it’s humanity. The wound is Afghanistan, it’s Palestine, it’s the United States. The wound is our broken homes, our broken marriages, our broken hearts. The wound is Golgotha, the wound is the cross. But rather than running away, let’s embrace the truth about our broken humanity, and the truth will set us free! Let’s not pretend to be well- after all, it’s the sick that need a doctor. No, we are the wounded. Mortally wounded. Darkly wounded. But, the wound is where the light shines through. Do we really believe in a Living God who is our redeemer, strong and loving- capable of healing these wounds? If so, then let’s bring our darkness to him. All of it. Life is short I want to live it well.”

I have started to confront the darkness in my life. First comes acknowledging it, rather

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My decorated college graduation cap

than always running away from it. I have come to accept that I am a broken, wounded person. The wound is where the light does indeed shine through. God has been reminding me that He hasn’t left me and that I am His creation, a creation continually being created. While the dark thoughts have not left my mind, there is a renewed hope that shines bright and gives me courage to continue on. 

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

I am about to graduate college. This is supposed to be a joyful time and people keep reminding me that I have my future before me. The future, however, is filled with uncertainty that is overwhelming and somewhat terrifying. One thing that I do know, however, is that I do not want to waste my life. God has led me this far and He has plans for my future. What is unknown to me is known to Him. I am still wounded and still broken, but that is a part of being human. I have one life to live and one story to tell. I want to live it well.

“I wanna sing with all my heart a lifelong song
Even if some notes come out right and some come out wrong
Cause I can’t take none of that through the door
Yeah, I’m living for more than just a funeral
I wanna burn brighter than the dawn

Life is short; I wanna live it well
One life, one story to tell.”

(“Live it Well” by Switchfoot)

 

 

“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it”

God is faithful. God never leaves us. God helps us get through the tough stuff in life. I’ve known this for a while but the past couple weeks have been strong reminders of these facts.

It all started about two weeks ago. We had to put one of my cats down. (I know he was just a cat but after basically spending as long as I can remember with him, it was a very sad day). That was also the last week of classes and therefore quite hectic. Then towards the end of that week, we got a call saying that my mormor (grandma) was deteriorating fast. The doctor said that she may only have hours or possibly days left. Although she had been suffering and battling poor health for a long time now, those were still hard words to swallow. We spent a fair amount of our Friday and Saturday by her side even though she basically just slept. (She was under the influence of pain medications). She finally died in the early hours of the morning last Sunday. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that weekend nor did I get much studying done. This past week was the dreaded finals week. I started studying for both of my Monday exams on Monday. Not the ideal situation but that’s what happened. Although all my grades probably won’t be back until next week, I learned today that I got an A on at least one of them. I also saw good final course grades in several of my other classes already posted.  God got me through those finals and the stress and the sleep deprivation. There is no other explanation. I firmly believe that He has been helping me with all the college stress since the beginning. I may not know what I want to do after college, but I know that I can and should trust Him. Today (Friday) was the funeral and it was tough. I pretty much lost it towards the end and started bawling. I was extremely close to my mormor. I miss her terribly. I am of course thankful that she is at rest and that she is reunited with my grandpa after 25 years of being separated by death. Selfishly though, I miss her. God has been helping all of us through this though. One of my high school friends went through the effort to travel back to our hometown from her dad’s house quite a distance away just to be with me. She went to the wake and funeral even though she never knew my mormor. God has seriously blessed me with an amazing friend. My other friends (real life and Twitter) have been understanding as well. You guys are God-sent. Our pastor has been really supportive and helpful too. I know that is part of his job but he has gone above and beyond. He’s even accompanying us to the cemetery next week (which is over two hours away).

These weeks have been crazy weeks but God has seen me through. As never before I see the truth behind the saying “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” The crazy thing is, my prayers have been far and few between this past week. I feel bad about it but I have also been reminded of something very important. God knows our needs better than we do. We don’t have to beg Him for things, He knows what we need. Even though my prayers were short and few, He was faithful to me all week. And He will continue to be faithful. This I know.

 

 

Happy New Year

2012 has been quite the year. I’m not spending New Year’s Eve as I had hoped, but I am thankful for the year that has been. In fact, I think 2012 has been one of my favorite years yet. Normally I get upset on New Year’s Eve for no real justifiable reason. Right now I’m doing ok…we’ll see how I am by midnight.

If everything had gone as planned, I’d be at a little music club in a small city 45 minutes from here with one of my best friends. Instead, I am at home, sick. I’ve been sick since the Sunday before Christmas. A week ago today I was thinking “At least I will get to have fun on New Year’s…” Yeah. As I reflect on the year however, I am thankful for what I have been able to experience all year round and that is what has helped me get through Christmas and now New Year’s Eve even though I am sick and under a new round of prescription drugs. I suppose that hearing about the highlights of my year isn’t overly interesting to anyone else but I felt inclined to post anyway.

2012 started out great. I spent the final hours of 2011 and the first few hours of 2012 at one of my best friend’s house. It was the first time I did anything other than sit in front of the TV or computer on New Year’s Eve. We had a blast chatting, watching Doctor Who, and hooking up the computer (YouTube) to the big screen. That was the first time I can remember really being really happy on New Year’s.

At some point in January, I received acceptance letters to colleges. That lifted a huge weight off my chest. If any high schoolers read this, I highly suggest getting those applications in before Christmas of your senior year.

The next big highlight came in March when my other best friend and I finally held a joint birthday party. We’d talked about one for years but it had never happened. We figured this was our last chance for quite some time because we were all going to different colleges. She’s two hours and five minutes older than me and is as close to a sister that I will probably ever have. We had catered Italian food, had a sleepover, and went to the movies. Only a few people could make it to the party but we had fun nonetheless. Less than a week later we went to concert in that same music club I mentioned before. We saw a Celtic rock band and it was quite amazing. We actually went and saw them again in July when they were at a Scottish festival nearby. (By the way, neither my friend nor I are Scottish…we just really liked their music…)

In May came all the senior activities at school including senior fun day (basically a school day that we drive to this activity place with lots of free food, games, activities, and a pool and hang out), and prom. I didn’t have a date to prom but I went with several of my friends. That oh so awkward moment in college when your new friends ask about your romantic relationships in high school…they were quite…non existent.

Anyways, in June came graduation and the all night party that the school sponsored afterwards. I got sick there too…but my unrelated twin (friend with the same b-day) made my night by volunteering for something at the party that she has sworn me to secrecy about. It wasn’t anything bad but it was a little embarrassing for her I think. She really is a great friend and I am so thankful to know her.

Over the summer I finally got my driver’s license…and I got it just 2 weeks before my permit expired. I needed the license so that I could drive to college. I also participated in an ensemble at the local music shop and had an absolute blast…even though 3 of the 5 band members were in middle school. XD

My first semester of college went fairly smoothly. And I most certainly thank God for that. I had so many concerns and worries when it came to college. I still don’t know 100% what major I want but I think I am rather comfortable with Communications. My mom has said she doesn’t see me as that major because of my shyness and awkwardness but I had a professor who told me it was a good fit. And I enjoyed my communications class more than many of my fellow comm. majors. XD I guess God works in mysterious ways. J

When I first got this illness, my first thought was “at least I got to go to the TSO concert.” For that I am extremely thankful. It was the first ‘big’ concert I went to and it was just….amazing. (BTW, for anyone who doesn’t know, TSO stands for Trans-Siberian Orchestra). My unrelated twin’s parents gave her tickets to the show in Connecticut. She invited me to go along. Her dad accompanied us and treated us to dinner as well. It was an unforgettable night. We had really good seats too. My ears were buzzing for hours afterwards but it was so worth it. I’m still raving about the concert…if you can’t tell. XD

So as you can see, I’ve had a great year. I am really sad to see 2012 go. I may be sick now but I am thankful for the year that has been. These are only some of the highlights. There are plenty of other moments that I won’t bore you to death about. If you made it this far in my post, you deserve a cookie. Or three.

I wish you and all those you love a happy and healthy 2013!

My First Week

Well, I have officially completed one week of college. It’s been quite an interesting experience. I wasn’t sure I was even going to write about it but I guess I decided to anyway. (Thanks, Sir Charles…aka Carlos… XD).

Since I am involved in music, I went to school about a half week early for rehearsals and fun activities. Resident students involved in band and/or chorus get the advantage of getting their dorms set up before the big rush. Us commuters, well we just get to hang out on campus a bunch before classes actually start. (I also got free food because of camp. The upperclassmen complain about the food but I must say it is pretty dang good. Then again, I just came from a high school with quite disgusting food…) I’ve been in various choruses almost my entire life and I didn’t want college to change that. It was a fun time. I got to meet lots of people. Best of all, the kids in chorus actually WANT to be there. In my high school, at least half of the chorus was made up of people who took the class because it was easy. They texted and talked but rarely, if ever, actually sang. In college chorus, people want to sing. It’s such an awesome change.

            After music camp, all the other freshmen moved in. The weekend was full of transition activities and meetings. Between that weekend and music camp, I was able to get fairly familiar with the campus. Therefore, I did NOT get lost on my first day. Or my second day. (That’s what happened in when I was a high school freshman). Most of my classes this semester are significantly shorter than my high school ones. And I don’t have the same schedule every single day. My classes this semester are:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday:  gym, Communications 101, Spanish, Calculus

Tuesday, Thursday: First Year Seminar, English comp.

Textbooks are outrageous. Everything in the campus store is. I was able to get one used textbook off Amazon for $40 less than the school store. The rest were either unavailable and/or were special editions packaged by the school. They obviously just want my money. I want a sweatshirt but I refuse to spend $50 just to have the privilege of wearing the name of a school that is already costing me a fortune. I’ll keep an eye out on clearance. I have my free freshman class shirt and a free university water bottle till then.

As I said before, I have met a fairly good amount of people. I wouldn’t say I have any real close friends yet. I hope to soon. Perhaps I’m too shy and awkward. I’d love to meet someone with similar values and interests as my own. So far, I haven’t had too much luck. Everyday is a new day though.

The weather this past week was absolutely GORGEOUS!! I spent much of my time off from classes just walking around or doing homework outside. Campus has this garden shaded by trees. There are marble benches and a little stream. It’s just gorgeous. It’s relatively quiet too. Most people tend to stay to the main paths on campus.

            I guess this basically concludes the summary of my first week of college. I have a fair amount of homework to complete this weekend so I should go work on it some more. I’ll write again soon when I have the time and/or the inspiration to do so. J