If you hadn't known about those times before, you're about to because I bet you're probably trying to write a paper or do something similarly productive right now and you'd rather be stalking yourself on Facebook so now that you know that that's an activity you're going to do it. Yo welcome. (Also, I am about to put forth what I believe is a pretty solid argument for the benefits of stalking yourself on social media. So.)
Not going to lie, I stalk myself on social media pretty frequently. It might be because I'm obsessed with myself, but usually it's either on Instagram or it's my Facebook photos, so I like to think of it as looking through a scrapbook. Reminiscing, reliving memories, etc. Also, perhaps casually glancing at the rating given to said memories by other people. Such is the world we live in. I digress. Today was a Facebook photo stalking kind of day. As I endlessly clicked the arrow on the right side of the picture to scroll further and further towards August and the beginning of college, trying to numb the guilt of not working on the important group paper that I'm still refusing to write, I was reminded of several things:
1. I ran a half marathon in October. What? It was not fast. It was not pretty. I stopped being nice to my running buddy around mile 3. But we didn't stop and I have the t-shirt to prove it, and as I sit on my couch eating cookies, it doesn't seem real.
1. b. I am definitely no longer capable of running a half marathon.
2. I go to college in the coolest place ever. The area between Allendale, Grand Rapids, and Holland on the west side of Michigan is beautiful and interesting, with a lot of great places, both outdoorsy and indoorsy, to explore. Which keeps me really happy.
3. I had my nose pierced for a minute. (Note: I kept it in long enough for our family Christmas. My grandma wasn't a fan.)
On that note, I got to spend Christmas in a giant cabin with a big group of my extended family who I love a lot and rarely see and that's wonderful.
|look how cute they are|
4. College was really hard at first. (See: This photo from move in day in which I am forcing a smile but am secretly terrified and sad and trying to act like I am enjoying the process of slowly being ripped away from my family like a Bandaid or something else sticky that you get stuck to you and have to rip off yourself.)
It still is really hard sometimes. Because life is hard and, although college is a fun part of life, it's still life. Ya dig?
5. I have been given (by God) some truly amazing human beings throughout the last 9 months. (I wish I could come up with a less cliche phrase to describe these people than "truly amazing" so that I could better convey their true amazingness. Maybe that'll happen in the editing stage of writing this post. Let's be honest, this post probably will not be edited.) This is one that really makes my heart (and eyeballs) melt. The amount of times this year that I've looked around at the people who I get to be around, here at college and at home, and have just been actually amazed, is a lot. The phrase "my cup overflows" comes to mind. (Yeah, that's right - I quote the Bible in my thoughts.) The scariest thing about coming to college was finding new people, and WOW has God showed up. Wow, wow, wow.
6. I really like my family. I've spent an above average amount of time with my immediate family this year compared to most college students, partly due to the fact that I love them and partly because I tore my ACL and had to come home for about 4 weekends in a row for doctors' appointments. Confession: I definitely had some frustration with being at home so often and feeling like I was missing things at school. Don't worry; I got over it. God's been teaching me to be content with where I'm placed and to see him working there rather than plotting an escape plan. I'm not good at it yet but I am at least to the point where I know that it's a thing. And I realized that, even though now feels like a time that I'm supposed to be very independent and an adult and doing things on my own and not living at home every other weekend, this extra time with them has been a really unique gift that not all college kids get. Also, my family rocks.
|the easter bunny in the bottom right photo is my sister. so yes, it does belong in the family collage.|
7. #blessed. I hate using the word "blessed" to talk only about the happy, comfortable things that happen to me because that implies that the hard, frustrating things aren't of God, and I believe that they are. So let me take this opportunity to not use "blessed" in that way and to dispel any idea forming in your head that I've spent my year being stereotypically hashtagblessed, buying greeting cards, watching sunsets, eating fancy dessert, laughing nonchalantly with my friends, and doing similarly Insta-friendly things - because, no. I've spent this year doing those things sometimes, plus having lot of other experiences that haven't been that fun but that I know God's used to grow me and that have probably been more important than the fun things. I've cried frustrated tears a lot of times, and a lot of times they're directed at myself because I've messed up something again and for some reason I still expect perfection of me. I've had pretty heartbreaking conversations with friends. I've watched family walk through stupid, scary, crappy health issues. I tore my ACL and crutched around for 3 weeks - not the biggest of bad things to happen by a long shot, but it would admittedly have made my life much easier if my ligaments would have just remained intact. I've felt lonely and I've said the wrong thing at the wrong time. I've tried to be friends with people who I can't be myself around. One time my socks got really wet and I had to dry them off in the hand dryer of the Taco Bell bathroom (alone). It has not been easy.
I don't have pictures of that stuff for whatever reason. Largely because I feel like it would be really emo to take a picture of myself crying while talking to my mom on the phone. It's not like the thought has never occurred to me - you guys, I take photos of EVERYTHING. BUT if I did, if I just took the photos, emo or not, and posted them on social media and then stalked myself, I'd have such a cool picture of the way that God has worked this year, especially in the hard stuff. Which is what I'm referring to when I say "#blessed". I'm overwhelmed by his goodness when I'm just looking through the social-media safe pictures, so whatever the next step up from "overwhelmed" is, that's what I am when I consider everything else he's been up to.
Basically, I'm forseeing a very quiet car ride home from school for the summer when my mom picks me up in a week. As we drive past the place where I had a hole stabbed through my nose - not once, but multiple times - by a man named Eric with dimple piercings. As the vehicle keeps moving right on past the bus stops. As I sit in a private car with enough room to shift weight without snuggling up against a stranger in the seat next to me. As the scent of a million ounces of fried food being prepped at the cafeteria grows weaker.
I picture myself shedding a single tear. Or several. Or my eyes might just get a little more moist than usual. I have a summer worth looking forward to and I love being home with my family and I'll be back in four months, so I'm not sad about leaving. I do know, however, that driving away at the end my freshman year of college definitely marks the end of a season, and I've never been great at endings. I need closure and I need to process. So I sit with my laptop and don't study and write this big long mess of stream-of-consciousness and photos. And then I post a link on Facebook. And then I maybe study. Or got to bed.
God has been good this year. Just like all of the other years. Don't worry; he hasn't changed. If you're reading this, he's probably used you to provide for me in some way, because I do not have it together and I would not be okay by myself. Thanks for letting him do that. May the knowledge of his goodness, which never ever changes, stay rooted in my heart and alive in my actions.
And may I also get 100s on my finals.