It's the night before my birthday and I just feel like crying.
I feel sadness. I feel longing. And I feel frustration with myself that I'm feeling this way even though tomorrow is my birthday, tomorrow is my day of celebration, of turning 24, and I will spend more time with friends and family, as I already have this weekend, and I will receive good wishes and kind words and love and appreciation. And I'm afraid that I'll be ungrateful, that I'll just feel mildly appreciated, and not deeply loved, and not truly enjoy myself like I'd like to on my birthday. But maybe feelings aren't everything. Maybe I can still receive these things from others, and still treasure and ponder them in the days and months to come, and maybe even if I don't experience immediately the joy and encouragement of such things, maybe they will still take root in my heart and blossom into further blessings that I can continue to experience in times ahead.
2009 has been such a year so far, and though I wouldn't change anything, I'm ready to hit the reset button. It's no longer heaven and hell side by side, but rather a bait and switch has occurred. The amazingly good things went down the tubes and the shitty things have improved and continue to improve (and I rejoice in that). Some things that were good two months ago continue to be good, and continue to get better. None of the goods or bads are as extreme as they were two months ago, which almost seems just how they should be. I suppose that I do believe that everything is just how it should be, though often things feel horribly off. I wish I could change some of this, but I do believe that I'm receiving what I need to receive and growing and becoming more the person that God has created me to be, a new creation, being transformed and renewed. I see evidence of this growth, and know that it's not just some nice cliche that I tell myself and others to feel better. No, this growth is real, I know without a doubt that I am more mature that I was a year ago, two years ago, four years ago. Sucks that it takes experiencing pain to realize this growth, but I'm grateful for the truth and reminder, whatever package it comes in.
All the same, I'm ready to hit the reset button on my life, to start fresh in several things, to not be around reminders of this past year anymore, though it's been a good, wonderful, fun, exciting, growthful year in many, many ways. I am just ready to step into the new. Thankfully, still living as a student, these resets occur every few months, and in the upcoming months, the reset button will be hit multiple times, starting tomorrow. Beep. Now I'm 24. Then next week, beep, new job. Two weeks later, beep. New class. Beep. New practicum setting. Beep. New place to live, new roommates. I don't see these changes as erasing the past or trying to forget anything, but I do feel excited about them as I see them as new opportunities, fresh starts, improvements, blessings, gifts. Reminders that nothing is permanent, that as the wind whips the clouds across the full moon, so too will God move me away from the tears and pain, and move me toward his goodness, his love, his mercies, his tenderness, into the beautiful newness.
Why do I post something sharing sadness when I should be celebrating and joyful? Maybe because it just feels so wrong, that I should be happy right now, damnit. Happiness will probably come tomorrow, maybe not all day long, but maybe some of the day, maybe even most of the day. Why do I write this now? Do I want sympathy? Probably. Let's be honest, I appreciate the sympathy and the concern, even though sometimes it embarasses me when people respond overly concerned. Why do I write this now? Why do I want to remember the last day of being 23rd as a sad one? I write this in the confident hope that I will soon look back on this post, and realize that I don't feel this way. I write this is the hope that being 24 will be better than being 23, that being 24 will mean less tears and more smiles and laughter and hope, and even if I experience more tears this upcoming year, that 24 will mean being more mature, experiencing more love, and feeling more confident.
It's the night before my birthday and I cried. It's the night before my birthday and I stood outside, alone atop the highest hill in this town, listening to nothing but crickets chirping and distant dogs barking, and feeling the cool, gentle, life-giving breeze. It's the night before my birthday and I'm kinda smiling.