It's amazing to me how time just seems to fly right past and that, once it picks up, it doesn't let you back down. The past six months have been a whirlwind of planning and preparation, searching and staying. I've become engaged, graduated, moved out, commuted to work, gone to work for a church, been sick countless times, slept little, loved a lot of people, spent a lot of time with my parents, and begun to realize what it's like to not only be post-high school, but post-college as well.
Sometimes, it's incredibly hard. For instance, there are times when I talk to my brother on the phone and I just wish we were still in high school and living in both the same house and the same state. There are times when I get so frustrated because my mom doesn't grasp the fact that my life exists apart from her and not everything can get done within her timeframe. There are times when I'd love to just curl up on the couch and listen to my dad as he plays and writes music.
But it's so incredibly rewarding and worthwhile. Certainly, I have cried my share of tears, but so many of them have been tears of overwhelming joy.
I've gotten to know the beautiful woman that my brother loves. I've seen the girls on our team open and flourish and grow so much in their faith in the Lord. I've re-opened a relationship with a friend from middle school. I've known the freedom and excitement of worshipping with a band behind me. I've healed. I've become a little more confident. I've seen a front-page byline at a newspaper with my name on it.
And, in one month, I get to marry my best friend - perhaps the cause of the most joy and excitement.
In the midst of all of this, however, I have found it hard to write. There are times when I find it difficult to process my circumstances without writing. Perhaps this season has even been one of those times. I simply felt incapable of writing, of trying to put down all that has been going on both within me and outside of me.
Last weekend, I watched two of our closest friends marry each other. They were so excited that they fidgeted through the ceremony and cried during their vows. That swept me into overjoy - I fear there is no other word for it! I cried for joy the three days prior to the wedding, almost the entire day of the wedding, and have been crying sporadically ever since.
How incredible it is that God grants us such a gift as to spend the rest of our lives with our best friend!
The reality is beginning to sink in for me. One month.
One month to finish preparing for a lifetime of preparation, of kingdom building. One month to move as much as possible north to the Fort, even though I can't come home often and gas prices are ridiculously high. One month to figure out insurance policies and whether or not we'll actually have someplace to live. One month to organize two persons' lives into one as much as possible.
One more month with my last name. One more month of sleeping and living alone. And one more month of saying "good night" and having it mean "goodbye."
How did we come down to merely one month? Wasn't it yesterday that it was November and December and we were just putting shape to our plans? How do we now have rings and vows and RSVPs and gifts arriving?
It is so surreal, yet so real all at the same time.
Christopher started packing in the last few days, and I just get so excited to think that I get to live with and serve with my best friend for as long as God wills us both to live. We get to celebrate with friends and family, and we get to set off on our own to make our own lives and decisions, and to seek God's will for our "family."
Which is such a strange word, but one that I am so grateful for its many meanings.
I have a family that I was born into. Mom, Dad, little brother, dogs, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...
But I also have families that I've gained: multiple church families, a high school family, a camp family, a college family...
And I'm about to gain Christopher's family as well.
It's so incredible to think that representatives from each of these family branches will be celebrating under the same roof with us in only a month. I used to get so excited for heaven simply because it meant they would all be together - how wonderful a foretaste this will be!
I don't know how I wound up 22, or getting married, or with a journalism degree, or stronger in my faith, or anything. I just know that I let go and God has swept me along to where He desires me to be in this moment.
It has not been and may not always be easy, but I don't think that ease truly plays any good role in life. It simply results in stagnant people. Change happens. We grow. We learn what it means to look a little more like Christ.
Being married apparently refines you. I look forward to that.