I sat, pant pockets glued to the leather of a well-loved sofa cushion. The room was lit by a few candles, a Christmas tree and the warmth of a couple of my favorite sounds. My boyfriend was beside me, and for the first time in several years actually, he was playing the guitar. He sat with it just like he had when we were younger, one leg crossed across the other, his hands at their practiced positions, and his fingers dancing effortlessly across the strings. His ears, naturally attuned to follow the choir of notes flooding in. An old friend of mine, whose married now and has a place of her own, enveloped her entire downtown apartment with a voice she could have sworn was scratchy, but sounded just like an angel to me. Her back was facing us, but as her hands glided across the keys of her piano, my arms were gifted with an endless supply of goosebumps.
I felt the cold, hard corners of me begin to melt away. For awhile now, these jagged and broken pieces lay in a body that was slowly freezing itself to death, reflecting a cantankerous, anxiety-ridden version of a heart I once knew, numb to the pain of a self-destructive world and too proud to admit that the frostbite was wreaking havoc on every limb of my half-alive body. So I sat there, in my old friend’s downtown apartment, blown away at where this year has brought me.
Hymns reverberated throughout the apartment, as everyone lifted their voices beyond the ceiling, and the room was filled with laughter, and, what I can only assume to be, an excitable mix of reflection and anticipation. “It 12:02!” one of exclaims, all of a sudden. We may have missed the official countdown, but it definitely wasn’t too late for the gravity of 2018 to hit me square in the face.
This is the year that changes everything.
In May, I graduate with my Bachelor’s in Strategic Communications from Liberty University. After I walk across that stage, I will no longer be financially dependent on my parents, and I will be in the thick of all things “real adult”, and (hopefully) enter into society as fully-functional, self-sustaining individual. Until I graduate, I will continue working 15-hours-a-week as a custodial at a local school, but my last semester will be filled with job applications, interviews and life-planning. I hope to get a full-time job that’s within my field, but if nothing pans out right away, I will most likely pursue nannying or house cleaning until I can find something with benefits.
Within the next few years, Michael and I hope to return to Papua New Guinea together. We would spend loads of time with his family, I would see his childhood home for the first time, he would show me around his old school, his parents' villages, and other awesome places I never had the chance to visit. We would then begin discussing whether or not we could see ourselves living there permanently one day. For the time being however, we plan to stay here until God moves us otherwise. We aren't sure exactly what that means yet, as we may need to be long-distance again (*sad face*), but regardless of what the next season holds, Michael and I are committed to one another (and let's face it, he's totally worth it).
After graduation, I can move just about anywhere, so long as the job presents itself. I could be moving somewhere I’ve never been before and begin building up another home in a new place, or I could be moving somewhere familiar, but in a way that’s very different from the way it was before. I will be saying goodbyes to people who have become like family to me (again), and saying hello to a whole new batch of unknowns. I have a lot more freedom this time, and I have a much firmer grasp on who I am as a person than I did right after high school. However, I am no stranger to the toll goodbyes to people and places can have, so emotionally, I am readying myself for battle.
There are some other things that I really want to tell you too, mostly because I’m stoked about them and partially because they make stellar additions to the list, and help you grasp the immensity that is the year 2018; however, I don’t want to jump the gun, and when the time comes, they’ll probably get their own special space on my blog. But for now, be on the look out for more posts (hopefully more regularly), and I will keep you up-to-date on all things 2018.
But with this year, I hope to live out two words in particular, that will affect the way I present myself through my relationship God, my friends, my family, my boyfriend and any strangers I meet a long the way. Grace and peace are character traits I was lacking last year. So moving forward, I hope to focus on resting in the fact that I don't have it all under control, and understanding that unconditional love come with a continuous amount of God-sourced grace. In both traits, I must learn patience (something I currently suck at, btw), and it will challenge a lot of the weaknesses I have buried. But by this time next year, I hope to look back and see that in many things, I acted in grace and peace.
Thanks for reading!
If you'd like to have a whole blog on what I learned in 2017 (a.k.a, the year that liked kicking me in the throat), let me know in the comments or message me on social media. I would love to do this!