Last semester wasn’t what I thought it would be; it turned out that I had a lot of ideals and expectations to toss into the wind if I wanted my happy-go-lucky back. Well, people, I got it back. This semester was so much, so much more than I could have asked for. It was beauty, and it was happiness, and, of course, it was pain. I’ll forever remember this as the semester that the tornado took, and because that tornado took so much, I needed time away from it before I could begin to tell you about these last few months. I usually write about each semester before it’s even clocked out yet, lest I forget those ever-important details, the ones I’m writing to capture in the first place. But there is a precious joy in looking back later, because I am able to see all of the blessings the last months bestowed upon me, all the ways that Spring 2010 healed me, both before and after April 27. So here we go.
January 2011: 2011 began with an ice storm that kept us stranded for three days, and followed up with more snow. We didn’t mind at all: we had roommate Christmas, we made cupcakes, and we danced as Cookie Monster.
February 2011: February gave us reasons to celebrate, so we took that party to a Mexican restaurant and then danced around our living room. I do believe there was an ice cream bar and more than one cake, and if that doesn’t make you want to hit up our next party, I don’t know what will.
March 2011: March brought something that I knew would be good: Spring Break. This year looked a little different from last year, but I knew that week would be the last time I spent so long at home in a long time, so I ate it up.
April 2011: Think of any emotion under the sun, and I would almost guarantee April brought it. April was a real-deal month. There was Gracie’s birthday, which was just a beautiful day; there was my birthday, which was nothing less than perfect; there was the tornado, and then, there was the aftermath, which involved some sitting at the lake, and some getting back into the game in Tuscaloosa. Here, the “before” and the “after” were formed.
May 2011: Wait, this is summer. There were no finals, no term papers, no impressively long study sessions. There were road trips and new jobs and a lot of talking it out. After awhile, we didn’t want to talk about it any more so we came home. And after everything, it was still home.
I daresay this semester has been the most unpredictable time of my life. I wish I could wrap my mind around everything I’ve experienced, but I know that time is the only thing that can help me do that. I know what you’ve seen on the news, and I know, Tuscaloosa people, what we’ve seen in person. But the last months— all of them— have offered so much more than the devastation we saw on April 27th. This time has reminded me, nearly every day, what it’s all about. Who it’s really all about (hint: it’s not me and it’s not you.) This semester taught me how to trust with my whole heart, both in people, and in Jesus. It taught me that I don’t have to search for beauty in life; no, He reveals it every day, regardless of the circumstances, and usually right in the middle of them. I just have to make sure I’m ready so I don’t miss it. This semester, well, it would seem that it took a lot, and it did. It stole things from me, from my friends, from my city and my state and the miles around me. But He’s buying us back, He’s redeeming us, He’s here.
And people? It was a beautiful semester.