Almost a week ago I turned 26. I had plans to write a nice blog post about how far I’ve come in the past year, all the things I’ve learned, all the things I’ve done, all the books I’ve read and TV shows I’ve watched, and all I hope to do in the year to come. But then I spent my first days as a 26 year old puking and trying to convince my puppy that licking his stitches is not what he wants to do. And crying. I also have done a lot of crying. Because cleaning up your own puke and having to take your puppy to the vet five days (almost) in a row is emotional.
But now I am on day two of a four day weekend, I haven’t puked since Monday, and my puppy is hanging out at the vet for three days while his third set of stitches heals. So let’s talk about my birthday. First of all, 25 was a darn great year. I moved into my very own apartment, rang in the New Year in New York (in a cozy living room in Brooklyn, not Times Square – be serious), saw some whales, obtained a business visa (fancy), successfully saved money for something (that ended up not actually happening), got a puppy, got a kitten, and started my fourth year as a teacher at Las Palmas.
As a 26 year old I hope to finally finish that novel that’s been in the works for so long. It’s the novel that I started three years ago during my first NaNoWriMo and then worked on again the following year. This year for NaNoWriMo I decided on November 1 what I was going to write about. Thank goodness for that “Writing Ideas” folder of mine! I am a couple of days behind due to my sickness and my stubborn puppy but I haven’t given up yet!
As a 26 year old I am going to move to another city and start a job at a new school. This is happening for a multitude of reasons, one of which is that God said I could move to the mountains and so I’m doing it. Last year I talked about how for so long I was sure I would have a husband by the time I turned 25. For the past couple of years I was waiting on a husband to move to Jarabacoa, my favorite place in the DR. I thought maybe one day I’d meet a guy up there on one of my many weekend getaways and then I’d have a reason to move there. Finally God said, “We don’t need no man!” So here I go.
As a 26 year old I hope to get more tattoos, read more books, and watch more movies. I hope to move to a house with a yard and get Fred a puppy friend. I hope to become an even better teacher as I learn how to love my students better and how to be more patient, creative, and knowledgeable. I hope to get out of my comfort zone more, as uncomfortable as that sounds, when it comes to relationships, physical challenges, and ministry. I hope to be speak more truth in more love, see more of God in the people and events around me, and do a better job of pointing myself and others to Him. As a 26 year old I hope to focus less and less on what I don’t have and more and more on what I do have, which is so darn much it’s insane.
This week even in the midst of my tears and frustrations I knew that it was all going to be okay, that everything was going to work out and that I was going to be okay. And I think that’s what faith is. Faith in action acknowledges that yes, this is a bummer, but you are strong and God is on your side, and you will pick up the mop and take care of business. You will take your stubborn dog to the vet for the fifth time and you will cry in the clinic and it’s all going to be okay. So far 26 has been a little rough, but it’s also been a little beautiful.
On Friday my friends hosted a wonderful birthday party for me. We ate some amazing dips and played really fun games. On Saturday our baseball team won with an exciting bottom of the ninth home run to even things up and a bottom of the tenth double. On Saturday and Sunday and Tuesday and Wednesday friends showed up at my house with their vehicles and took me and Fred to the vet. They sat around and waited and they didn’t complain or rush us once. They said, “It’s okay,” “It’s no problem,” and “What else do you need?” When I came back to school on Wednesday after two and a half days being sick at home my teaching partner said, “I wanted to stop by to visit you yesterday after school but I had a family emergency. I told myself that if you weren’t at school today I was definitely going to come see you.” Yesterday I celebrated Thanksgiving with my friends who have become family. We ate ourselves silly and played cards for hours.
I’m starting to sound like a Glennon-parrot broken record but this first week of 26 is the best representation of life I know. It is cleaning-up-your-own-puke rough, but it is also winning-at-card-games awesome. It is missing-your-family lonely, but it is also being-cared-for lovely. Both/And. Brutal and beautiful. Brutiful. I hope that 26 brings me more of that – more of what life really is, and that through it all I never forget the God who loves us like crazy, who seeks us out daily, and who has good, great, brutiful plans for us all.