I am beginning to understand why they call it adulthood. The older I get, the more happens, the less my parents can do about it, and the more I wish I had an actual hood to draw over my head to hide me while I slide deeper under the covers.
My last semester of college has, thus far, been no endless parade of positive anecdotes. I’m allergic to my house and those allergies turned into a three week bout of bronchitis. I held a stressful daycare job for a time in a facility where I legitimately felt unsafe. I was denied the Disney College Program experience that I not only wanted to do, but had depended upon getting in order to advance my career options. I have struggled to pick up relationships where they left off upon my return from France. I have struggled in my relationship with God and my church—relationships which, I have had to learn, are not synonymous. I have done that thing where I worry about post-graduation plans easily every day for the past three months.
Completely outside of myself, communities I love have seemingly erupted. My campus is in a fight against racism that some don’t believe lives and others are willing to die for. I have been in a fight with myself over the words to say and the ways to love on all sides and how deeply I have a right to be involved in these debates. (Sidenote: if you’d like to have a discussion with me about how I have been affected by what’s going on at Mizzou, I’d love to do so via a Facebook message or in person. My feelings are too nuanced and the situation changes too rapidly for me to write some sort of concrete, all-encompassing ‘politician’s statement’ on my blog.)
My heart has broken at the news of attacks on France. A place I had previously only admired in movie scenes became a sort of second home to me this past summer. To see it under fire, knowing the pain that was felt when my own country was hit by terrorism 14 years ago, is an added weight on my chest. By acknowledging the pain in France, I do not wish to minimize the damage recently done in other parts of the world. There is hurt everywhere. I wish only to reflect on how surreal it is that something horrible happened across the globe and there are important people in my life that easily could have been amongst the rubble. A place that changed my life has been badly wounded, and for lack of a more eloquent way to say it, I hate that.
There has been a fog over my life for a while. I wake up and remember that things are not so okay right now in my communities. I still go to the movie theatre and run on trails and laugh-cry with friends and dance too much to Justin Bieber. But sadness and fear are never any further away from me than my iPhone and Twitter feed.
Life right now feels eerily similar to the hike that I went on in La Ciotat my very last week in France. As I ascended and descended the side of the mountain, I was literally on all fours clinging to anything stable. I was scared out of my mind, but continued because I knew the final destination was not too far away, and I was surrounded by rocks which I trusted not to give out beneath my feet.
I am continuing, in large part, because of my rocks. My lady rocks who cry with me on the couch as I tell them how much life scares me. Mom and Dad rock who let me know that they think of me often and look forward to when I come home. My strong, Texas rocks who text me and call me and send me silly pictures of their faces and remind me that I have them, if they’re needed (Pssst: you always are). My God rock who I don’t talk to near enough right now but who makes His presence known when I am not even looking.
Times are hard, and I am not sheltered to them like I was when I was younger. Tragedy strikes and I have to realize the full weight of what has happened and decide how to respond. But I mustn’t let the weight on my shoulders keep me from continuing to climb. Rather, I must rely more on sources of strength outside of myself to help.
It is a beautiful world, friends. Shitty things happen that tear us up and twist our hearts in ways that we can’t make sense of. We feel things that don’t have words, and cry out for a sadness we can’t explain. But our God reminds us that there is also joy beyond measure, and a hope that holds on, and the curiosity of little wonders. May we never lose hope that a better tomorrow is coming. If that hope is never lost, we shall have won.