The Sun and the Moon

Sometimes I wonder if the sun ever misses the moon. In the rare moments where they meet or glance at one another from across the world, do they know how much time will pass before they meet again? Do they care? Or do they celebrate both their meeting and their divide without feeling sorrow in the time and space between them? I hope they do, and I hope I learn something from them.

Because my first thought in a moment that I recognize as fleetings is never celebration – it’s immediate longing. And as time passes and I come closer to the end of the season I’ve been living in for so long, I’m filled with an insurmountable longing that I can’t seem to shake, even though I know it’s a longing for things that haven’t happened yet. I feel myself missing moments and people and experiences despite the fact that they’re not gone. But the idea that someday they will be is too much for me to simply push to the side. And I know nobody wants to talk about it. But the incessant denial is only putting this feeling at a higher regard. It’s giving it the power it needs to grow rather than the care it needs to heal. It’s like ignoring weeds in a garden and expecting them to go away instead of sitting in the uncomfortable heat for long enough to just dig the damn weeds out.

And the truth is, I am both saddened and terrified at the thought of change. But when I think about the sun and the moon and the rhythm of the earth, I am comforted in knowing that nothing is meant to stay sedentary for too long and change always leads to a beautiful and natural evolution. I don’t think the sun ever misses the moon because it knows that in due time they will meet again. This is a lesson the earth teaches us time and time again and I am doing my best to learn it: that no matter the discomfort from growth and change, everything will work itself out in due time and just like the wonder that comes from the stars at night and the beauty that is revealed in the light of day, it doesn’t matter what you’re missing because something great is being experienced it its place.

Light

Around ten o’clock every morning the sun shines through my room perfectly, allowing it’s warmth to soak my skin despite the freezing cold just beyond the walls. If I don’t have class or work or any other responsibilities, I’ll lay in bed and allow the warmth to fill me up. And, just like plants in the same way sun gives them life, I feel life flowing into me as well. I’ve learned this year about the importance of soaking up life. About letting light in every form it may come, be it the company of a friend or serenity of solitude, pour into you and fill the parts of you that so desperately needed it. Because sometimes you don’t know. You don’t know that that impromptu conversation with a stranger is going to turn into a sharing of stories that will leave you feeling giddy and nostalgic. You don’t know how that random drive will lead you to a beautiful place, filling you with a serendipitous memory you can call your own. You don’t know about the things that seem like a burden at the time, either. You don’t know how that person leaving your life was really making room for someone better, even if it was just yourself. You don’t know how that horrible moment was paving the way for a beautiful mind.

But even among all this unknowing, it’s hard to deny that life isn’t always working for you. We’re always going to outgrow a part of ourselves. And if you remember being younger and struggling to sleep as your legs kicked back and forth along the bed and the growing pains kept you up then you know that growth is not comfortable. In the same way that your body changed so will your life as a whole. You’re going to outgrow the person that you were; you’re going to outgrow the person that you are. In the midst of all that, you’re going to outgrow other things too: dreams, people, circumstances. The only reason it’s uncomfortable – the only reason it hurts – is because you don’t know what’s next. But if you can trust your body to grow into exactly who it’s meant to be, you can trust life to allow you to grow into who you’re meant to be.

You don’t have to know what’s going to happen to know it’ll be okay. Life is always working for you, not against you. It’s just a matter of sitting in the sun every chance you can get even if you know there’s nothing but cold around you.

Moving Forward

I’ve never been good at letting things go, be it a physical object, a person, or a situation. I’m a border-line hoarder (I still have my corsage from my senior homecoming pinned to my wall ???); I’ll stalk people who aren’t in my life anymore on social media because I’m curious about what they’re up to and I’ll still make jokes and comments about situations that happened years ago. It’s not that I dwell on anything from my past, I just have an easier time moving forward rather than moving on.

To me, moving on implies forgetting or letting go completely and that’s simply not something that I can do a lot of times. I always hold out hope for something more – for a possibility to come. I’ll think, “maybe I’ll need this item someday,” or “maybe things will work out with this person” and I’ll keep going with this “what if” hopefull mindest.

But it’s not even just that. By moving forward I’m allowing myself to hold on to the memories and lessons that came with something, which I couldn’t do if I were to simply move on and forget. Moving forward means taking things day by day, going through the motions as needed, but never losing sight of the things or people that got you to where you are and molded you along the way.

I don’t see this is as necessarily a good or bad thing, I see it more as an accurate representation of my optimistic mindset and the way I romanticize things, which is a part of me that will probably never change. With the new year coming close, people tend to have this idea that they need to move on from whatever happened to them in the year prior in order to make the next year better. But why? Why is it so important to move on? To act like nothing happened? To continue about your life with a negligent attitude to the past?

I’ll be the first to say that this year was not the best. I think I’ve lost myself a lot along the way and it hasn’t been easy, but I don’t plan on moving on from it all and forgetting.

I know that things will work themselves out one way or another in this new year, whether it’s because of things I actively do or things that happen simply because they were meant to happen. But I’m going to take all of the heartache, lessons, and memories from this year and use them to drive me forward in to the next year.

Just like the corsage on my wall reminds me of something great, I’ll let this past year remind me of something too. I won’t move on; I’ll just keep moving forward.

Jump.

A few years ago, when I was a senior in high school, some friends and I were sitting around the living room of my friend’s house on a hot July day trying to figure out what to do. We bounced ideas off each other, but everything was either too far, too expensive, or not exciting enough. Then one of my friends had an idea. In a heartbeat, we all agreed, packed our things, and hopped in the car.

45 minutes later we showed up to Clifty Falls, a site known best by the local teenagers for, you guessed it, cliff jumping.

We all stood around at the top of the falls for a minute looking at the drop and talking to some other kids who were there.

“How high do you think it is?” asked one of my friends.

“30 feet or so,” agreed another friend and I. It had to have been at least 2-3 stories. It may not sound like much, but would you ever jump out of the third floor of a building? Probably not.

Without thinking, one of my friends walked back, took his shirt off, got a running start, and jumped, all within a few seconds. We were shocked. 

Next thing I know my other friends and I are all hyping each other up, preparing for the jump. 

One friend goes.

Then another.

Then there’s me.

“I can’t do it. I’ll just watch you guys, it’s fine,” I insisted. There was no way I was doing that. What if I land wrong and end up like the guy in A Walk to Remember? What if I don’t jump out far enough? What if I trip and fall off instead and end up breaking my neck or something? Nope. Not going to happen. 

At this point other kids started noticing my apprehension to the jump. One person came up to me and started trying to calm my nerves.

“The thing about the jump,” he said, “is that you can’t think about it. If you think, you’ll end up panicking like you are now. Just clear your head.”

Okay, I thought, don’t think.

BUT I’M ABOUT TO JUMP OFF A CLIFF – HOW DO I NOT THINK ABOUT THAT????!!!????

I was, to say the least, terrified.

Should I mention that up until this point, I’ve always been afraid of heights? Yeah, this wasn’t my brightest idea. But I love a good thrill, so somehow it balanced out.

I had made up my mind – I wasn’t going to jump.

“Maybe next time,” I said. But for today, I was okay with just hanging back and spending time with my friends that didn’t involve falling to my death.

I started to walk away from the ledge, ready to sit down and accept the fact that I wasn’t going to do it. Then, all of a sudden, I turned around and started running. And when the time came, I jumped.

Without thinking. 

I don’t remember what I thought during the fall. If anything, I felt peace. I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t worried, I was just falling. In seconds I hit the water but I kept falling until I wasn’t. I made my way to the top, took a huge breath, and I just screamed. I threw my hands up and screamed an exhilarating, toe curling scream that can only be sparked by the rush of adrenaline and absolute bliss. I looked up and my friends were up top cheering for me, and even some of the kids who were encouraging me to jump were looking down at me. I have never felt a feeling like that before, and I have never felt that way since. 

Were my parents beyond angry at me for going cliff jumping? They sure were. Would I do it again? Definitely not. Do I regret it? Not in the slightest.

I learned an important lesson that day; I learned about the power of not thinking.

The thing about decisions is that they’re rarely hard to make, but they’re almost always hard to do. More often than not we know exactly what needs to be done. Maybe it’s something we know is right, but it’s hard. Maybe it’s a decision that seems the least likely to work, but it’s the only one that feels right. Maybe it’s something that seems incredibly stupid and the odds are probably stacked against you (like jumping off a cliff), but it will lead to the greatest outcomes.

Nobody likes making decisions, whether they’re minor like choosing where to eat or major and can lead to large life changes. But I think the reason a lot of decisions can be so hard and take so much time to make is because we spend an incredible amount of time thinking about them, when it’s possible that the thing we need to do most is just not think.

Take a few steps back.

Run.

And jump.

You’ll find peace in the fall and bliss in the landing.

What’s on your scale?

This year has been a wild ride, and it’s only March. Can anybody else relate to that? I’ve had some incredibly high moments where I felt as if life couldn’t get any better, but there have also been a handful of times where I’ve felt so knocked down that I couldn’t even see the potential for a positive outcome. It’s as if 2018 has been this weird roller coaster where all of the insane lifts and thrilling drops have happened in the first five seconds and I’m left wondering what more the architects could have possibly designed for the rest of the ride.

Earlier this week, I went camping for four days with some friends from college in Clifty Falls in southern Indiana. It was cold, snowy, and crazy beautiful – an adventure I wouldn’t trade for the world. On Thursday morning we all packed our bags, cleaned up the site, and went our separate ways to enjoy our last few days of break at home before going back to school. Normally, the drive would only be a little over two hours for me to get home. However, feeling confident in knowing where I was and how to get home, I turned my GPS off after about an hour. Bad idea. That “easy two hour drive” turned into a tedious four hour drive on back-roads and weird highways and me not knowing where I was until I was twenty minutes away from home. But, on the brightside, those four hours turned into prime thinking time.

Once I figured out I was lost, I turned on some worship music in hopes that it would help me to not stress over something so small. I started talking to God (because what better time to pray than when driving and lost hours away from home?) and I said something that I didn’t expect to say, and even though I was the one who said it, it had a pretty decent effect on me. I said, “God, please help me to understand that the weight of this boulder is nothing compared to the weight of life’s pebbles.” Okay, reading this I can see how it doesn’t make a lot of sense out of context. What I was talking to God about was how the two weeks leading up to break I was kind of struggling. I may have mentioned in previous posts how they were pretty rough weeks and even though I was doing what I could to stay positive, it was a challenge. However, I’ve always been one to talk about life’s little blessings – the things that make life worth it but we so often look over because they seem so small compared to the big things. But think of these little, happy things as pebbles – small and seemingly insignificant. Think of the big things, the things that feel like constant weight on your shoulders and seem incredibly large and important at the moment, as boulders. Now, place each of these on a scale. On one side, you have this boulder that’s representing your struggle, whatever it may be, outweighing the other side by mass proportions. Now, one by one, start throwing on the pebbles. A pebble for each of life’s blessings – for each good thing in life. Random acts of kindness, each of your friends and family, beautiful weather, the smell of fresh coffee, cheesecake, etc. Anything you can think of that brings you even the slightest bit of joy.

As I started to think about this, I quickly realized that the combined weight of the pebbles was much, much greater than that of the boulder. I think we get so caught up in looking at the scale and seeing the boulder as something big and scary that we forget the amount of control we have over that scale. Sure, the boulder is heavy and it will take a lot to outweigh it, but there’s a reason people write books like Happiness is… or 14,000 Things to be Happy About. It’s because there are so many beautiful things in life that are easily overlooked. But as soon as you look at them and add them to your scale, you’ll quickly realize that the good really does outweigh the bad.