I’m sitting in Hartsfield-Jackson staring out a window at flights to other homes while looking back at 2015, as everyone is doing these days I think. It overwhelms me. I thought no year could touch my year on the Race, but this one has come close.
To be honest with you, I welcomed 2015 deep in the throes of rum and coke. It was fun..”fun” …but throwing up to the sounds of the 5am train after making several poor decisions left me with anxiety like no other. I already felt like I was in a whirlwind, with no real hold on the unraveling edges of my life, and this year has been exactly that: full of change, resettling, reevaluating, learning to hold the right pieces, and brave. Just full of brave.
Last January I started talking with Amy about going to Uganda with her over the summer. My stomach was full of butterflies at the thought of traveling again after such a long sabbatical of stillness.
It snowed again. And I spent many a morning climbing that little mountain in north Rome, memorizing potholes in the road and the v-shaped tree line as the branches hugged the incline.
I married off one of my bests last January and hugged this family I’ve known for eight years just one last time as they headed out for the wild west.
We decided to start running, but I never actually ran a 5k this year. Still on my bucket list.
I walked through divorces with dear friends. I lost a friendship that meant the world to me, one I never thought I’d lose. I spent hours huddled in a comfy chair under a fuzzy blanket nestling cups with sweet Ali teaching me how to prioritize what’s on this life table of mine and taking time to hear the truths about who I am in God’s light. I became an advocate for counseling because, sweet friends, sometimes you need an outside look to help you untangle the unraveled frazzled seams of everything and that’s okay. It’s actually just perfect and worth it and worthy.
I quit my job in March and got a new job in April with a job title I loved, eager to learn the cadence of new people and spend my time being creative. Two weeks in, I wrecked my car, totaled, and learned what it means for someone to really show up by your side and hold you up and simply be in your corner, even in pouring rain. Sometimes someone just needs to bring you an umbrella.
I got a new tattoo in April, too, full of the lionhearted generosity, bravery, and courage God calls us so desperately to in our lives. And I watched the Braves celebrate 50 years in Atlanta on Opening Day, complete with friends, rain, MARTA rides, footlong hotdogs, and legends I’d only ever heard of. I spent most of the month trying to understand the anxiety in my body by being nice to it and feeding it things like applesauce and daily smoothies in an attempt to get back to some semblance of normal. A restart, if you will.
In May, I learned to say no: to weddings, to people, to places, to things. But I also had the glorious opportunity to say yes: to buying a new car that I love, to seeing my whole family gathered in sweltering south Georgia, and to Waffle House food trucks and weddings that make you just sob from first moments. I finished standing with my three main ladies as they married their bests and it was a beautiful season.
June came rushing in the way humidity sneaks up on us in the south. We expect it, know it’s coming, but it still comes all of a sudden. I graced the halls of Hartsfield-Jackson that month and the always-being-constructed airport in Amsterdam once again and battled nerves on my way to a new place: Uganda. I still remember getting my visa and walking toward the baggage claim area where the air just hit me and I knew. It was everything and nothing, but my heart was turning flips. I remember being wide-eyed on the bus for hours, unable to sleep for wanting to see everything, fresh eyes. We stepped off in the Village of Eden and I felt like a planted seed who’d seen the sun for the first time – bursting forth and all of that. God sent me words and visions, dreams and friends in the span of two weeks. Some that I talk to every single day and others that I can’t wait to do life alongside one day soon. Without writing (another) novel about this little trip, my heart was planted and knit and changed for this little village in the pearl of Africa.
July was slower with a concert and friend-hangs here and there. A lot of reading and a lot of rest and celebrating two years.
I filled August with so many things: with counting steps up Amicalola Falls and Minnesota reunions with squadmates I hadn’t seen in two years. Then there was losing my job on a Monday morning and spending hours in the backseat with Malachi on the way to Gainesville to celebrate that little village and reuniting with sweet friends I’d met over beans & rice. With unemployment came reading – lots of reading. We moved Amy and Drew from home in the Valley and celebrated birthdays. I closed the book on my year of weddings and bridesmaids dresses by spending it in the mountains.
September and October were the same: football, friends, books, and soup, and the celebration of my advancement into “late twenties” over insanely huge burgers with the people I’ve eaten Monday and Wednesday dinners with for years.
November and December have ushered in big decisions, like moving and new jobs. They’ve brought new friendships and parking lot sunrises and flood rains.
So, 2015, it’s been a year. You’ve been hard and holy and you’ve been full of joy moments and laughter and beauty. You’ve helped me grow and change. You’ve taught me to not mind staying, but to be mindful of staying too long. You’ve helped me be tough when I need to push through hard seasons by reminding me of purpose, but you’ve also taught me to feel deeply, still, and to be humble and to ask for help and to let God take care of the details because He can do more in the waiting and the journey. You haven’t overstayed your welcome, but you’re also not welcome to stay any longer because 2016 has such promises held that I cannot bear to wait any longer.
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