You see, 2015 was a hard one, and in January I just wasn't at a place where I could even try to look for the good things that happened in the past year; all I could feel was the grief and pain that still threatened to crush me at every turn. But as February has come, I've realized that I do still want to reflect on 2015, but maybe in a bit different way than I have in the past.
1. In January, Alise called to tell me that the boy she'd gone on a few dates with in the past month was officially her boyfriend. I cried of course, but I really was happy for her. I think we both knew that there was something special about this boy, but neither of us had any idea what the year was going to bring.
2. In February, SBU hosted our second annual women's conference, The Alteration. We invited Stephanie Husk (who was the counselor at Corban during my college years) to come be out keynote speaker, and getting to spend most of a week with her was such a gift. She is an incredibly wise woman, and I just wanted to soak up my time with her like a sponge. It was so sweet to have two of my worlds (Corban and SBU) collide for a few days.
3. In March, my world was rocked with a phone call telling me that Alise's mom had been killed in a motorcycle accident. Within a couple days, I was on a plane home, completely unsure of how to love my best friend well through such a tragedy, but knowing that I needed to start by just being physically present.
4. May brought the end of Year Two as an RD in Missouri, and despite my attempts to the contrary, the Lord made it clear that I would be staying in BoMo for at least another year. I wished tearful goodbyes to my leaving RAs who I had come to love so much.
5. After the school year ended, I boarded a plane bound for Spain to walk a portion of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. It was physically hard and exhausting, but such a sweet and unique experience. ¡Buen Camino!
6. After a nearly 24 hour delay in DC on our flight home, I met up with Rochelle in BoMo, jumped in her car, and completed her cross-country road trip with her! We spent a fun night in Nashville (LOVE that city!) jamming out in the street at the CMT Awards concerts, and drinking margaritas, before making the final push to Atlanta. It was exactly the mini-vacation I needed after my time on the Camino.
7. In June, the miracle of travel miracles happened, and I happened to be in KC the same night as my dear friend Joel while he was in the Midwest for work. Joel and I were RAs together in college, and somehow the guy has put up with me ever since. He's been a faithful friend to me for many years, and getting to catch up with him was such a sweet blessing!
8. The next day I flew out of KC again, this time to go visit my family in the PNW. I got to celebrate Brenna's birthday with her, spend time with my kiddos, and take a trip to Crater Lake with my parents. It was such a sweet time with people who are immeasurably dear to me, and looking back, I'm so so grateful for the time my parents and I got to spend together before our worlds were turned upside down.
9. Summer in BoMo brought awful thunderstorms (I hate those things) and camps in my dorm (high school football camps are the worst). I had a rockstar summer RA though, (Natalie) and we enjoyed holding down the fort together at Leslie.
10. On July 4th, I got a call from Alise with joy in her voice, telling me that that boy she'd been dating since January had asked her to be his wife. I burst into tears right then on the phone, but the peace I felt about her and Jamael together allowed me to be so impossibly thrilled for them. Life as I knew it was changing, but maybe that change didn't have to be bad.
11. Summer drew to a close by seeing Hairspray with Kristen, kayaking with Paige, retreating with my RD coworkers to Lake of the Ozarks, and agreeing to be Alise's maid of honor. Bring on RD-ing Year Three!
12. In August, I crossed something off my Bucket List by going on a helicopter ride over Bolivar! I'm so thankful for the incredible girls in my life who are always up for crazy adventures with me.
13. At the end of September, Leslie Hall celebrated her 50th birthday and we built a giant birthday cake homecoming float to celebrate. We didn't win, but the memories of dance parties at our float building location will last a lifetime.
14. Immediately following the homecoming parade, I jumped in the car and raced to the airport to catch my flight home. Dad was having major neck surgery on Monday morning, and I knew I needed to be there. The surgery did not go as planned, and my family was left facing a future we hadn't anticipated and certainly never wanted. Over the course of the next three months, I flew home every other weekend to spend time with my family at the hospital, feeling totally helpless, but trying to help in any way I could. I was in a fog for three solid months. I was exhausted from all the early morning/late night travel, I was scared out of my mind, and I was mad at God for letting this happen. When I was in the PNW, I slept on hospital cots, helped with meals, and tried to translate the steady stream of medical jargon flowing from doctors, nurses, and therapists. When I was back in Bolivar, I laid in bed and cried, unable to summon the energy or desire to face the day.
15. Christmas, usually my favorite time of the year, may have been some of the hardest weeks of 2015. Dad finally came home from the hospital, but nothing was as it was supposed to be. I tried so hard to make things "normal," to celebrate the season, but nothing was right. I flew to Chicago for New Years, exhausted, burned out, and dreading the year ahead. My time in Chicago though was one of the greatest gifts I could have received. I spent the holiday with Alise and her family (I got to surprise her on New Years Eve by showing up at Aunt Cyndi's house out of the blue!) and the next few days were full of so many fun, sweet moments with my second family. I got to spend some time with the fiancé, and was able to give him my wholehearted stamp of approval, celebrate a bridal shower for worlds most beautiful bride-to-be, and explore downtown Chicago in all its glory. My dry, tired soul drank up the beauty, laughter, culture, and love like a my dying house plants, and I felt able to breathe again for the first time in months.
2016 has started off well. Dad is making slow improvements, and we're all learning what it means to adjust to a new normal. It's going to be a year of change for me in so many ways, I know that, and I can only pray that I will handle that change with grace and joy. I don't want to experience the pain and heartache of this past year again, but by the faithfulness of Lord, I did survive. And that is the story of my year: He has been faithful. When I was so angry and depressed, He didn't stop being faithful. When I was overwhelmed by grief and uncertainty, He continued to be faithful.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."
|The view from Dad's hospital room one night.|