Friday, May 11, 2012

Thirty

My last day in eighth grade I sat in English class as my teacher lectured us about high school and peer pressure and life. I don't remember much about that class, my teacher (other than she showered with her cats), or that lecture. In fact, I don't even remember her name. But there is one specific thing she said that I remember to this day...especially on this day. One single statement that distinctly stands out in my mind:

"Every year will go by faster than the last, and one day you'll turn around and you will be thirty, and you'll think back on today and feel like it was last week."

True that.

So much has happened since then, I don't know how it feels like it just happened, but it does. All I know is that today I woke up, turned around, and by some crazy scary time trickery, I am thirty.

It's been a wonderful, exciting, painful, healing, learning, growing, aching, losing, joyful, and stretching thirty years.

I have lived in 30 homes in 12 cities and two countries. "Home" has been found in apartments and houses,  dormitories and travel lodges, shelters and living room floors. There have been so many people I have loved and been loved by in these many places. Many people who have stepped in to help in hard times. Friends and family members and near strangers have welcomed me in with open my arms, offering me their homes or their hearts, sometimes both. Even a caring social worker who risked her career to allow me to sleep on her couch for a month.

By these people -many many people- who have crossed my path and offered their kindness on this journey, I have been so very blessed.

I also can't help but to look back and realize that I have loved many, but I have also lost many. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, much of my african family, a brother, friends, a best friend, my first love. Many who helped me see how wonderful life is, whose absence leaves an ache with every step I take without them. Yet in their memory I find some of the greatest beauty that life has to offer.

For having them walk beside me for a short while here on earth, I have been so very blessed.

I have made big and stupid mistakes, taken crazy risks, failed miserably, found great purpose, tasted great adventure, and loved with reckless abandon. I have hurt and been hurt many times along the way.

But for the freedom to make these choices, and through each experience that has left me stronger, wiser, or more compassionate,  I have been so very blessed.

It is easy at times to see the bad, and it is easy right now to look back and wonder what might have been. Life so far has not been predictable or anything that I have expected. I must acknowledge and give proper mourning to hopes and dreams that I know will never be, but I must not cheapen or neglect the gifts that God has given me in their place.

One day His plan will be made known and then I will see: His hopes and dreams for me, they are so much better than my own. And for this I am so very blessed.

So, dear thirty, although I may not yet be willing to welcome you with open arms, I will accept you. I will live with you and grow with you and expect no less of you than completely wild, crazy, and bold unpredictability.

Bring it on.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

Happy Birthday!! May thirty be full of good times and great laughs! Hey, it's "Thirty, Flirty,and Thriving". If you haven't seen that movie, sorry. ;)

Jill Foley said...

Happy Birthday! I loved turning 30 and each year after that I have found that I am more and more confident and comfortable with who God made me to be. When I was younger I was very insecure so I like this new feeling of, dare I say maturity?!?

Of course I'm 8 years ahead of you and not so sure how eager I am to hit 40....we'll see.

Hilary said...

Happy Birthday!! I hope that you have a great birthday. I love reading your blog. You are an inspiration to me :)

Mark Langham said...

Happy Birthday! You are accepting these passing years much more gracefully than I am!

Jess Elyse said...

Thirty!! Whoop! Whoop! It's going to be great. :-)

Rebecca said...

Thanks guys! I'm now three days in, and so far its been pretty great. I guess I will survive this getting older thing :)