I’m the kind of person that furiously writes down everything because I’m scared of losing memories.
And my twentieth year inspired a lot, a lot, of words.
Twenty brought me through realizing that to be flawed, in-progress, is not ugly.
It left me standing in glittery star dust, watching snow lightly dust every surface as my friends and I walked through Wicker Park after seeing a play together.
It ushered me into an American Lit class with Professor Lundin, who recently passed away. I’ll never forget the delighted twinkle in his eyes, the way the corners of his mouth turned up as he recalled stories from his childhood, the way he laughed at his own jokes. The way he loved his students with warmth and welcomed us into his office with a kind smile and listening ear.
It brought me through an art history course that changed my perspective on, well, everything, that convinced me that studying art isn’t silly but important. And through a drawing class that taught me that consistent hard work can really pay off.
It disappointed me when I caught the flu and spent a week in bed, feeling more weak and homesick than I had in a long time.
It flew home with me for spring break: wandering the Seattle Art Museum with my childhood best friend, buying tulips at Pike Place market, and breathing in the salty Puget Sound air.
It taught me to resist the embarrassment that so often accompanies hope, to laugh from my gut more often.
It brought me through anxious moments where I felt six inches tall, my hands too big and my mouth dry and my words caught in my chest.
It found me laying out on a park lawn late one evening sounded by three dear friends, eating strawberries and oreos dipped in peanut butter, talking about the most courageous and adventurous things we had ever done.
It struggled with me through a summer of newness, of meeting Jamie Tworkowski, of reading really important books like CS Lewis’ The Problem of Pain, of road tripping through the best parts of Washington with Caleb, of jumping into Wallace Falls.
It traveled with me to London, where I learned more about diversity, Jesus, and myself than I thought was possible in just six weeks. Of introducing me to another home to say goodbye to.
It brought me through leading Urban Passage, of spending time with new friends that accepted me immediately and unconditionally.
It introduced me to beautiful, world-famous art at the Art Expo at Navy Pier, enchanted me through Stepphenwolf’s production of East of Eden and Lookingglass’ production of Treasure Island.
It looked on as I responded in grief over my grandmother’s death and the frightening world events that never leave our newsfeeds, as I learned about Immanuel prayer and leading a small group and falling in love with reading Scripture.
Twenty, you were good to me, and I am ready to send you on your way.
Here’s to another year of trying again and again, of practicing self-compassion, of listening well, and remembering His blessings often.