I’m writing this blog post right before graduation in May.
Days later, I will walk across the Lawn in front of the Rotunda and officially graduate from the University of Virginia. The place I’ve spent a good chunk of the last four years. Where I’ve learned a lot in (but mostly out) of the classroom.
May has been a weird month for me, one filled with anxiety and anticipation and not fully understanding what I’m anticipating. I feel like I’m in a state of limbo. I know that I’m graduating but since I haven’t quite stepped into that reality, I’m not sure it’s quite real. May in my mind is split into two halves–leading up to graduation and post-graduation. The second half will be a wild one!
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PSA – I will be taking 2 weeks off the blog (I think). I’d love to immediately get all the grad pictures up but it will be such a hectic weekend that I’m sure to be wiped out. When I come back, I’ll recap graduation, my 4th year of college (!!!) and whatever the heck is next.
In February, I wrote You don’t need to know what’s next. You need only to be faithful to right now. UGH. Such wise words. And my past self didn’t even realize how much she’d have to live into them. Today I spent the day in the beauty of UVA Grounds. I walked around A TON. I laid in a random patch of grass, read Hebrews, and journaled a tad. After that, I proceeded to make my rounds in a few gardens on the Lawn (which was gorgeous!).
It’s absolutely incredible that I’m graduating. And I get to celebrate that fact–with good food, with family, with friends and grad photos. I know that it’s normal to not know exactly what’s next, but it’s also a very confusing time. The confusion has got to me. I’m a little weary, which is okay. At the end of a journey, it makes sense if I’m a little wiped out.
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Some May notes in my notes app:
Even when it feels like nothing is blooming, pay attention to everything that is.
A dear friend and I got hit with it this May, and yet I see the flowers blooming everywhere and it’s filling me with joy even if I still have questions about the things that aren’t blooming in my own life.
Degas – art and mess
Degas, the French impressionist painter was an artist and yet his name in Haitian Creole can loosely be translated to mess, as if your mess can also be art.
I’m learning to live in the beauty of what is versus what isn’t.
So much of my college experience has been resisting my current situation and though the life I’m living is almost absolutely nothing like I would have asked for, there are some beautiful moments. I can only choose to see beauty if I’ve stepped forward into reality. I live in a fantasy if I resist what’s in front of me. The temptation is to remain blind to what has been offered to me, instead of having open hands and an open heart.
I’ve been trying to love bravely. I’ve been trying to be a little bit bolder than I once was.
Details here don’t matter. But let’s just say that I was risky in a way that I’m not sure a year ago I could have been. Maybe it’s time, maybe it’s that time is running out (for this season), but that risk was worth taking—even if it didn’t go the way I wanted. The growth in this is honestly what I’m proud of.
I used to think a measure of strength was how much I could bear but now I think it’s how often I see the little ways I’ve been carried.
Strength as a woman is different than it is for a man. Forgive me for this, but I think biologically, men and women carry different crosses. Part of me once believed that if I could push myself beyond my limits that would show how strong I was. Not getting as much sleep as I needed, doing a million things, being everywhere at once. That pace was 100% unhealthy and unsustainable. But setting that aside, there’s a greater peace that comes when you know you’re carried—that it’s not just you crafting your story with intention. Recognizing there is a strength outside of myself gives me something or someone to rely on.
Maybe everything is weaker than I thought it was.
I wrote this when I was feeling a little sad. But I think in some ways, it’s true. The threads I thought would never fray broke. Perhaps it’s the nature of being human, that the relationships we hoped we would live into forever we don’t get to. I was recently talking to a friend about whether or not she’s the type to leave early and to overstay, and without a doubt, I overstay. Partly because I don’t want to miss out and partly because I love too much to ever see a reasonable end to that love. I cling too tightly that the broken pieces in my hand become bloody. Maybe that weakness is a strength, and as Hayley Williams says, we’ll die searching for it.
I don’t have to rush this. I never did.
My thoughts on the last few days at UVA. I spent so much of my semesters here running around with my head cut off thinking I needed to fill my days to be full. When all I needed was some breathing room. I needed some air to realize that this season is special and it will be over. And it doesn’t need to be jam packed in order to be stewarded well. Why did I buy into the lie that a busy calendar meant a rich life?
You can become numb to what used to set your soul on fire.
I feel like this with faith. I think about God ALL the time. I really do. But do my thoughts really move my heart? Move my body? They used to. I would spend hours pouring over the word. I read endlessly the stories written about the Israelites and this relentless, steadfast God. For a long time, I think I’ve been in a season where I just lost it. Like I put my faith down somewhere and I’m trying to find it, and I don’t know where to start. The same things I used to do don’t work like they used to. The fire is a single, flickering flame. I don’t know what to do with that. I don’t know what to do with most things, but I certainly don’t know what to do with that.
Mini playlist for you:
Back in My Body by Maggie Rogers
26 by Paramore
Lost My Mind by Alice Kristiansen
Heart Swell by S. G. Goodman
The Story I’ll Tell by Maverick City Music
What are your noticings for May?