Growing up, Harry Potter was my thing. I was the kid who dressed up as Harry for Halloween. My room was decked out with wands, books, and other Harry Potter memorabilia. I remember jumping with excitement when I got my hands on the latest book. One instance that comes to mind was when the Deathly Hallows was released. I went to visit my dad and I remember being called into the living room. I was tired from the drive there, but the moment he pulled the book out from behind the table, I was given much newfound energy. I ran back to my room and read over half the book that night. I’ve always found that the best stories are the ones with the cliff hangers at the end of the chapter because you’re always forced to either continue or deal with the slight anxiety attack of not knowing what will happen next. And although I cannot replicate the same cliffhanger J.K. Rowling can, I’ll do my best here.
This last chapter of my life has been interesting, to say the least. It has been filled with many highs and a few lows. I finished my third year at the best school in the world (besides Hogwarts). I got a tattoo on sixth street in Austin so I can check that off my bucket list now. I became a certified candidate for ministry in the United Methodist Church. I found my love for coffee shops that overlook lakes. And I finally conquered my fear of playing instruments in front of other people on multiple occasions. I also lost some important people in my life. Some to death, others to mental illnesses, and another because I was afraid that I lost feelings and didn’t care anymore.
It’s hard to balance out the good and the bad like a scale. Each thing has been great or hurt in its own way. But am I thankful for all of it? That’s hard to say because my mind is so narrowed. I mean, for all my life, I have wanted to live to where I would be at my happiest all of the time. That was very foolish of me to think I could do that. I don’t want to go theological and say I should find my joy in God and then I will find true happiness. As true as that is, that’s not the reason for this blog post.
Rather, this blog post is going to serve as a bookmark for me and whoever reads this to look and say things have changed. Something that has helped me get through this year is a quote from Albus Dumbledore in the Prisoner of Azkaban which says “Happiness can be found in even the darkest of time if one only remembers to turn on the light”. I think I have held to this more than anything, not because I rewatched every Harry Potter movie in a week this semester, but because no matter the good or bad that has come from this year, I have seen just how happiness can work.
That sounds weird, I know so let me explain. Happiness is not a singular, objective trait. It can be found in friends who encourage you or puppies. Maybe it’s in music (a quick shout-out to Austin Taylor and TheWaldenTwins on SoundCloud, y’all should go check them out). Heck, happiness can be found in knowing that you’ve just finished your last Organic Chemistry test ever. What I’m trying to say I guess, is that there’s something to always be happy about and that is what has gotten me through this year.
I have much to look forward to though in the coming days. On Thursday, I begin my internship in the small town of Athens, Texas as a college pastoral intern where I basically get to shadow a pastor and do what they do. It will be exciting, but also scary being somewhere by myself with my friends not by my side. Maybe there’s a coffee shop overlooking a lake I can go to. We will see.
In July, I have been given the opportunity to be the keynote speaker for my home church’s junior high camp. And as exciting as that is, I hope I’m not too old to relate to them now haha. I have been developing a sermon series over the past few months over the topic of fear in all aspects from how we cope with fear through addictions to the fear of waiting. Prayers for that to go well as I am still preparing would be great. And if you’re not necessarily into that, keep me in mind.
This past year has been good. Being that I am a perfectionist, I constantly think about all of the things I could have done differently. But when it comes down to it, I know I cannot change the past and I am learning to become content with that. In my first blog post, I wrote how we [Christians] are not called to be stagnant in our faith and that same attitude applies to our everyday lives. We cannot stay the same and expect things to be fine. We will constantly be changing and should be striving to continue searching for what will bring us the most in life.
I cannot and will not sit back and let the crappiness of what will happen in life affect me too much. Just because I am a Christian does not mean life will automatically get better. It does mean I can turn to God and realize what a relationship with God has to offer (I know I said I wouldn’t get too theological but I had to mention this).
A chapter of my life has come to a close. It has been real and it has been fun, but it is time to look forward to what is next. I will still remember the memories of what has past. I can look at the good things and maybe receive a sense of nostalgia. I can look at the bad and at worse say at least I survived. At best, I can say I am happy that the bad happened because it has made me a better person. This blog post sorta sounds like the ending to the Deathly Hallows. But I assure you, I plan on having another few chapters in this book of mine before I end.
Junior year, you have been fun and painful. Thank you. Here’s to many surprises, joys, crappies, and whatever else life throws this way. As one chapter ends….. Another shall begin.
Cheers *drinks a sip of iced coffee as I overlook ducks playing tag on the lake*