“So you’ll go out in joy,
you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
exuberant with applause.” —Isaiah 55:12
If it’s possible—and perhaps it’s not— this semester went by faster than any I’ve ever had before. Either way, it sure feels like someone pressed the fast forward button on my life’s remote and all of a sudden, I’m lounging on my couch, and Christmas is a week away, with 2012 dancing toward us. No matter how hard I try, I cannot slow it down; what I can do is take a breath and think about all of the beauty and joy and abundant life that made this semester’s days so very sweet.
After a quiet summer in Tuscaloosa, I started the second half of my college career. It was surreal, to say the least, what with upper-level classes and two jobs and lots and lots of Tuscaloosa sunsets.
September brought lots of learning: how to be a 9-to-5 kinda girl; how to treasure moments between doing and call them my own; how to let go of so many must-bes and relish this-I-ams; how to walk in obedience; how to ask for forgiveness; how to hold on; how to let go at just the right moment. These were lessons that were occasionally fraught with displeasure, but more often than not, I was taught to pluck the peace from those moments.
I’d be lying if I said October isn’t a blur. It was chock-full of newspaper stories and deadlines; bright mornings and starry nights; giggling and laughing and, yes, sniffling, too. I bounced right through October, holding on one cup of coffee at a time, for Fall Break at the lake and a very happy Halloween. And all along, I had these beautiful faces, and what beautiful blessings they are. Winning.
November slipped in without warning, and the trees began to dazzle us with their fall lullabies. Everything sped up, as it always does as the end of the semester looms. There never seems to be enough time to cram in every lesson that must be learned before we can earn some credit hours and pass along, and this is stressful for the professors. I walked across the leaf-strewn quad with closed eyes, and I was there, in summer, circling it on one of those many empty summer’s night strolls I took. And here it was, a smattering of crimson and gold and scurrying students. When? How? I don’t know; Beautiful all the same.
Well, this is something I can talk about! Here I am, sitting on the edge of newness, with a whole lot of magnificence to look forward to. The first two weeks of December were races that left me breathless: schoolwork, work, schoolwork, work. Write, write, read, test. And suddenly, I was ready for it to be over. I was ready to say good-bye, as hard as that was to do. I was ready to look ahead for what’s coming with a hopeful anticipation, with a joyful trust, with a bold confidence. There’s so much to come; this I know full well. And while the memories of this semester, of this year, are so sweet indeed, I am looking ahead.
There’s still time, of course—Santa Clause is coming!—followed by a bangin’ start to 2012. But before I go, rest assured that I’ve tucked every single bit of all of this away. Each sliver where I tasted all the goodness of life; each pebble of quirky imperfection, so perfectly compiling to work for my good. They’re all mine, and me? Well, I am so blessed.
Two thumbs up to you, Fall 2011.