A Decade Of …

I am the type of person who loves to reminisce. I love the act of flipping the book on my little life and pausing. I even have physical photo albums to help guide me. So, in the name of stepping forward into a whole new decade, I want to take time to reflect. I want to recall what these past ten years have meant to my life. I want to feel them through and bid them farewell, and I want to offer a bit of advice for those in their own 20something decade of life.

It would be easy to take the bigger moments of these past ten years — engagement, marriage, the birth of a baby — and melt into those. But I think I miss out on something when I leave out the seemingly insignificant memories and moments. For me, the beginning of 2010 was a step into new friendships that are still so important to me today. I’m looking at you Harris family. Thank you for being my constants.

Then, a move. In 2011, it was a move from Southern Florida to Chicago. I was riding the cusp of 23 and feeling both grown and naive. A few heartbreaks later, I was prompted to begin seeing a therapist, because who better to trust your whole being with than a professional Holder of Beings? Candice is still my blueprint in this life. Without her moments of shining the light on my cobwebs, I would be in the ditches of roads I should not have traveled on.

In between all of this, I was among the greatest of friend groups. There were hours-long dinners, countless late nights, themed parties and living room prayers, inter-group dating, campfires and campfire dances, and bellyache laughing. I will cherish these friendships for the rest of my life. Despite all of our moves and missed calls or texts, I have an inkling we are forever linked by the year 2012. Our golden year together; before marriages and babies, 2012 has become a constellation in our skies. In the overwhelming moments, I hope we can all look up and smile at our overhead and feel that silly youth in our souls again.

Much of where these friendships were formed was at Soul City Church; a place that has taught me more about myself than just about any other. At Soul City, I learned healthy and unhealthy leadership, planning and executing projects, deep hope and prayer, the prophetic, the ability to be flexible and, despite what I’ve been taught, to trust in the people around me. It is a place that has both filled me and drained me and filled me again. When it came time for Brendan and me to make the move away, we knew we would finish our time at Soul City specifically. It was important to know that our chapter was closed there, despite what we agreed or disagreed with. When we felt a spiritual release happen, we knew it was time. I can say, without a doubt, belonging to that Church has fundamentally altered who I am and continue to become. Thank you, Soul City Church.

I feel such tenderness in writing out these words. Maybe it’s the PMS or Phoebe Bridgers, but I am sitting at my desk window in Indianapolis, watching a bright red cardinal nestled on a branch with a few gentle tears in my eyes. I am so grateful for these past ten years; for what they have brought and taught me, made me leave behind, and revealed. At nearly 31, by more measures than age alone, I am not who I was at 20. And if there is anything sage I can offer to the 20something gal or guy who sits reading this, it’s this:

  1. Have your heartbroken. If it’s not right, it’s not right. You will not only survive the elephant on your chest, but you will carve out a space to understand the depths of who you are, what you are made of, and make space for what’s next.
  2. Join a community. As a small group leader at heart, I cannot encourage this more. You will surprise yourself by how much you can trust others with the small things, and then eventually, the bigger things.
  3. Buy a plant. Start with a succulent or aloe plant, water every 10 days and smile at it in passing. They like you and maybe you won’t kill it after all.
  4. Learn to like silence. “Silence isn’t empty, it is full of answers.” – Unknown. Turn the music off while you’re driving; don’t plug in your headphones on the ‘L’; don’t feel the need to keep the conversation going.
  5. Try to learn something new each day. Listen to The Daily, The Moth, read or subscribe to a magazine or newspaper.

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