From paper boy to student journalist
Editors note: This blog post was originally published February 3, 2016 on this website.
Have you ever written something super deep, and super personal, and super heavy, and then …
throw it all away?
I just did that with this now brief and joyful reflection.
I wrote 800 words 15 minutes ago that were swiftly and permanently wiped clean from my hard drive.
With the wave of a mouse and the click of a button they were gone. Then I wrote from the heart the 1000 words you’re about to read below.
It was sooo worth re-writing.
Twelve months ago, I celebrated 2014 at a busy intersection in East Asia.
Sixteen hours ahead of my hometown timezone, some new friends and I danced to a new year promising new adventures and new memories with new people stoked on new life.
In the last 12 months I’ve become daring, bold, and spontaneous. I’ve been challenged, humbled, and transformed.
I’ve been unexpectedly wise. I’ve been unbelievably stupid.
I’ve loved a world of people, places, and ideas. I’ve lost a galaxy of the same.
I’ve committed myself to countless things. I’ve uncommitted to even more.
It’s been pretty incredible. It’s been pretty intense.
As my fingers glide across my laptop keyboard, I’m dealing with some pretty severe jet lag.
The insomnia is agonizing because, well, when you can’t sleep you think.
I’ve had so much time to think and reflect and remember how bizarre 2014 was, it hurts.
As much as I’d love to find a way to write all of it for you to read, I realize that is the last thing I want to do.
You see, it’s kind of funny. I communicate best writing. I always have. I, most likely, always will.
But 2014 has taught me that writing isn’t always the best way to share ideas. Sometimes talking, face to face, with family, friends, and strangers does a far better job.
I learn to love it more and more each day.
This blog is an incredible tool to share my thoughts. Social media is a fantastic way to constantly stay in touch.
But I’ve learned to love people. I’ve learned to love community. I’ve learned to love being engaged.
I want to see your face as we laugh, as we cry, as we get animated and smile and wave hands around and tell each other how we’ve been hurt and how we’ve been blessed.
So I’m going to share a little bit of my heart; a little bit of my year with you.
If we have the opportunity to engage offline, I invite anyone to reach out to me and find a time to connect. Only so much can be exchanged here.
Twelve months ago, I had no idea what 2014 promised to plague me with.
I had no idea my family back home would continue to fall apart. I had no idea I’d become a workaholic. I had no idea that I would fall for a close friend. I had no idea I’d have to work on getting over those feelings. I had no idea I’d stop exercising and become weak. I had no idea my grades would dwindle. I had no idea I would struggle financially. I had no idea I’d deal with constant exhaustion and emotional stress. I had no idea I wouldn’t raise enough money and words of encouragement for my travels. I had no idea I’d deal with short term memory loss. I had no idea that I’d get my first speeding ticket. I had no idea that my credit would take a hit. I had no idea I’d deal with an attraction to Adderal. I had no idea I’d struggle to control my caffeine intake. I had no idea that I’d fight to stay in school. I had no idea I’d have to deal with horrible dreams, vertigo, and deja vu frequently. I had no idea that my brother would lose his best friend to a bullet wound. I had no idea that I would lose my uncle to a heart attack. I had no idea that this list could only be a portion of what went wrong. I had no idea that my faith would be challenged on so many levels.
Twelve months ago, I also had no idea what 2014 promised to bless me with.
I had no idea that family brokenness would develop closer bonds with my brothers. I had no idea that I would get to know my dad on a deeper, more personal level. I had no idea that I would get an incredible amount of journalism experience at such a young age. I had no idea how healthy it would be to recognize inappropriate feelings. I had no idea how important it would be to have Godly men and women invest in your life. I had no idea how important the investment of men and women who believe differently than me would be in my life. I had no idea that academic, financial, and physical struggles build positive character. I had no idea constant struggle and emotional stress could strengthen my future ability to cope with it. I had no idea how humbling it would be to realize who had my back financially and who had my back with words of encouragement. I had no idea I would learn to rely on faith to overcome attractions and addictions. I had no idea how frugal financial struggles would make me. I had no idea that school would teach me patience, dedication, commitment, and persistence. I had no idea that I could find peace in spite nightmares, vertigo, and deja vu. I had no idea that I could be a comfort and find comfort in times of death and mourning. I had no idea I would find pleasure in family, pleasure in friends, and pleasure in my community. I had no idea that I’d realize how awesome my brothers are, or how incredibly kind and gracious one of my roommates is, or find joy in the investment of not so close friends. I had no idea that I would find peace in men and women I connected with at my church, at my work, in my classrooms, at house parties, or online. I had no idea this list could only be a portion of what went well. I had no idea my faith would bless me on so many levels.
This last year, 2014, was blessed and cursed in every way I couldn’t imagine.
That’s really awesome and leaves me super weary yet super stoked for 2015.
I’ll feel pretty stellar.
Ten days ago, I celebrated 2015 at the same intersection I celebrated 2014 in East Asia.
Some new friends and I lit lanterns, nearly burned down the city, and laughed out loud together. We were celebrating our new life together.
I rushed into 2014 lights flickering and a promise they’d shut off post-celebration. I started 2015 with a fire burning and a city ready to extend the flame.
A fire doesn’t lose it’s light easy.
It’s a similar light – a light I have through my faith in Jesus – that’s made the last twelve months pretty stellar.
If 2014 is any indication of how awesomely bizarre next year is going to be, 2015 is going to kick some serious ass.
I’m looking forward to staying engaged through faith and engaged with you.