T-24 Hours.

The formula is constant:

Come back home,
Experience awkwardness and loneliness the first few days,
Slowly get back into the swing of things,
Pick up where relationships left off,
Catch up, hang out, chill,
Feel as if I’ve never left,
Get closer than ever,
Don’t want to leave home,
Forced to leave.

But this time, it was.. different.

On new years day on Saturday, I was very bummed and depressed. That whole week I couldn’t shake it. I just wanted to slip away quietly and go back to California. I built up a lot of expectations in my mind of what I thought this break was going to be, and when reality proved drastically otherwise.. I couldn’t take it. I felt like I wasted my entire break. I was in a rut. And I couldn’t get out.

Thankfully, by the time Wednesday rolled around, it went away. In its place was a feeling of excitement. I usually host a large gathering of all my church friends a few days before I leave. And usually by the end of the night it leaves me with this feeling of emptiness, knowing that I will not see these people again for another long season. Usually these parties make me want to miss my flight and stay home forever.

But for some reason, this time I wasn’t left with that feeling. I was left with.. wholeness. I really enjoyed myself, and savored every minute I had with these people. I found myself actually present with them, instead of simply being there physically while mentally counting down the hours before I’d have to leave them. It was a much less cynical frame of mind, and I am glad I actually had fun at my own party.

In truth, I had one of the best breaks I could have ever asked for. I hung out with everybody I wanted to see. I spent quality time with my family. I popped fireworks for the first time in five years. I made the most adorable stuffed animal and gave it to my favorite person in the world. I played with the worship team. I had a great small group. I watched tons of movies and lost tons of money playing ridiculously fun dice games. I drank and was merry. I looked up at the stars. I spoke to God. I felt His love.

I had a great time. And while I’m sad to see it end, I feel.. equipped. Ready. I have no clue when I will be back home, but I know for certain that God wants me in California. He has reminded me that I will always have home, and that there are people who love me. They are excited for me, and I have no doubt that I will be missed. I know I’m sounding a little conceited, but considering the dark places I’ve gone to in my own head, battling thoughts of worthlessness and depression, this is a tremendous step for me, and I am entitled to feel a little proud of my growth.

I love you all. Thank you for making the end of 2010 joyous and memorable. I will make you proud.

See you soon!

Joseph

 

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