Just went through my pictures on Facebook to see if there was anything embarrassing or blackmail worthy that I needed to delete. I found so many things. Embarrassing faces, embarrassing poses, just all around ridiculousness. While I was looking though all the pictures something else happened. Going through over 10 years of my life, digitally documented for all to see, I really started to see the journey I’ve been on and it reminded me of how far I’ve come. For starters, my photo taking/editing skills have improved astronomically. But on a more serious note, I have come so far as a human being. I’ve come so far as a man. I’ve come so far emotionally, spiritually, and personally.
Looking through the different seasons of my life, and reliving them through pictures proved to be an experience in and of itself. Seeing the community I had at the University of Central Missouri and the experiences I gained through ROTC, I didn’t realize how important that season was. It was my first glimpse into what the possibilities could be when a community of believers comes together to support, encourage, and live and enjoy life together. Late night cooking at friends’ apartments when we should have definitely been studying. My chaotic time of getting out of ROTC and transferring to Southwestern Assemblies of God University to intern at the Oaks Fellowship via the Oaks School of Leadership. The community I built there and the friendships I developed are still some of the ones I cherish the most. My times in Mexico, Guatemala, Uganda, and all over this country. My summers at Camp Barnabas, where my love for the special needs community grew and my relationship with the Lord deepened. Venturing to live on my own for the first time in San Antonio. It all seems so recent, but when I think about where I was mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. it seems like an eternity ago.
I didn’t realize how important it is to not only remember the good times I’ve been through, but it’s also incredibly important to remember the hard times. In remembering the hard times, I began to remember how strong I am and I began to remember how important the people that were in the middle of those seasons were and how important they continue to be. Those people shaped me. They changed me. They taught me that community is as necessary as the air we breathe.
I know I’m not done growing, and I know I’m not done learning. That’s a process that will never end. I’m grateful for where I’ve been. I’m grateful for the people that have played a part in my journey. I’m grateful for the people that are still in my life that are a part of my journey.
“And so it turn[s] out that only a life similar to the life of those around us, merging with it without a ripple, is genuine life, and that an unshared happiness is not happiness…and this [is] most vexing of all.” –Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago
“Happiness [is] only real when shared.” –Chris McCandless