Start looking at the leaves.

Because sometimes when you get to the end of one of the most hectic and blurry days of your life, you get to sit down and remember that the people and things that light a fire in your heart are the things you should keep close. Those people who are so passionate that they can’t help but light up when they talk about the things they love and inspire others, those are the people that pull you in. Ever since I’ve come to college, and probably even before honestly, I have gravitated toward a fast-paced lifestyle. I don’t know why, but that idea has always been appealing to me, and I would definitely say I’ve lived that out. But then again, 20 hours of work, 18 hours of classes, new commitments, 5 exams, papers, and project presentations don’t really lend a hand in slowing down. However, I’ve come to this place of desiring rest. Like, no-to-do-list, no-lingering-anxieties, real rest.

I’ve realized it’s easier for me to mourn a loss than to celebrate a new beginning, and I’m about to have a hell of a lot of goodbyes to say.

It’s been a long road, losing all I’ve owned
And you don’t know what you’ve got until you’re gone
And it’s a nasty habit, spending all you have, but
When you’re doing all the leaving, then it’s never your love lost
And if you leave before the start, then there was never love at all
And heaven knows I’m prone to leave the only god I should have loved,
And yet you’re far too beautiful to leave me.

I’m also realizing how much has happened since I last posted. There was the formal one of my friends convinced me to go to 24 hours before it was happening. There were little courageous steps I took in the past month where I look back and think, “My God, was that really me asking those questions or saying what I wanted? Oh wow, it was!” There was a senior farewell dinner for my scholarship that made me feel the beginning of entirely too many emotions. A catalyst, if you will. There was the late night, the Misterwives concert (AKA the best night of college thus far, from the people to the music to the atmosphere of Finals Fest, everything was perfect). There was the Rooted worship event outside on a Sunday morning with a fire burning, a guitar being strummed, mugs of coffee all around, and some solid company. There was accepting a position as a WinShape Community Impact Team Leader (more to come on that in the next few months). There was my best friend getting the scholarship of a lifetime that’s going to keep her at Berry for the next 2 years (I screamed. I cried. I felt a lot of things. And then we ate cupcakes.). I almost cut my bangs (surprise), but then I didn’t. We roadtripped to Chattanooga in the middle of the week to go to one of the greatest concerts I have ever been to and eat tacos and drink too much coffee and sit on the back patio of the Hot Chocolatier for 2 hours whilst eating macaroons and chocolate and answering the question: “If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?” I went to the last house church of the semester, and was honestly so pleased with the way that God has it in His plans for certain paths to cross. I sat in that living room, the one with the pillow that says: “Life takes you to unexpected places. Love leads you home.” And I felt home with these people all over campus. I traveled to South Carolina in a day to be with a friend whose dad had passed away. I finished 2 book reports and 2 video project/programming proposal presentations. And right now, I’m smack dab in the middle of finals week. To say the last few weeks have been wild would be an understatement, but I wouldn’t trade it for one thing.

Stop looking at the ground, start looking at the leaves,
Up among the dirt and rust is where the Kingdom breathes.

I heard these lyrics screamed from the voice behind me at the concert we went to in Chattanooga last week, and I think these are accurate words for this season of life, in mourning losses and celebrating new beginnings.

I’ve also been very day-dreamy lately. I’m generally a day-dreamy person anyway, but recently it’s just been amplified in the midst of chaos. I think it’s because I can’t wait to watch the sunrise from a plane and wake up in New York City in less than a few weeks. In fact, I just finished sitting here for over an hour and writing down the list of places I want to see when we’re there in LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. New York City makes my heart skip a beat. I feel like when I get over the feeling of being sad about change, I get really excited and inspired and passionate about all of the things that are coming. He turns the bitter into sweet, and that is such a beautiful thing that I know I often overlook. I think these past few weeks have been the closest I’ve felt to God in a really long time, like truly finding Him in all of these moments that would otherwise seem insignificant. God gives us these really cool relationships so that we have the opportunity to see Him and know Him better. One of my friends who spoke at the last house church talked about hospitality and how that doesn’t always look like opening up our homes to people like at the times described in 1 Peter. Hospitality means catering to the things that the people around us are hungry for. She put it in terms of authenticity, focused attention, selflessness, and just somebody to sit and listen to their story. And she talked about how loving someone earnestly can be wearing, but showing hospitality without grumbling is truly showing the love of God because that’s how He approaches us.

A couple nights ago, we had our end of the year staff party celebration thing with taco soup and paper plate awards, and I didn’t cry as much as I thought I would. I did, however, cry the entire way up to mountain before Breakfast at Retreat because I realized how much I already felt myself missing the people that would be leaving soon. It was the strangest thing.

And last night I slept for 11 hours, woke up in my friend’s bed, and made brunch for both of us and it was probably the best brunch I’ve ever made. I’m going to miss our mountain sleepovers with breakfast and French presses and movie nights and spontaneous things and just that person who makes you feel at home. So now, I’m going to finish making my list for summer reading books, get ready for the last girls night, and try to adequately put words with all of these moments that God’s allowing me to live in. The best piece of advice I was given in a Facebook comment this week: Lean in, little bird. Here’s to leaning in.

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