I know people say not to dwell on the past, but I spend a lot of time thinking about my past. I prefer to think it isn’t because I am dwelling on it, rather I think about my past as a type of memorial—mourning the loss of what used to be and celebrating the hope for the future of what may come. I especially think of the past when the anniversaries of certain occasions in my life hit. For example, I think about what my life looked like last February.
Last year, I entered the month of February with a lot of hope. I had all this hope that my life had worked itself out—that things would finally “happen” for me. The end of last January had ended with a potential for a new relationship. A little bud on a green stem, saying, “This could really be something.” But, like any flower that tries to blossom in February, the harsh winter choked it out.
It had been fun. We watched a lot of movies (he thought I liked movies that were deep and made me think, and while that’s only really half-true (I also like movies that require no brain power whatsoever (but please understand me: I have never, will never, watch The Hangover), and actually, one of my favorite genres of movies is more the gangster, bank robbery types), but I didn’t want to correct him because I was still trying to impress him). We drank a lot coffee together. Well, I drank coffee and I’m pretty sure he drank tea. He helped me dig my car out of the snow, even though I’m from North Dakota, so I definitely should have been able to dig my car out of the snow by myself. He complimented my socks and how they were always extremely white. It was a good month. But, like I said, it ended.
Side note: If you know me, you may know that I have a freakishly weird talent of remembering what I was wearing on even unspecial occasions. I just realized the irony of today: I am wearing the exact same outfit I wore when he first held my hand. But, it’s whatever.
It was the end of February when it ended. February 25th, actually. (I know. I remember what I was wearing.) It was the same day that I preached for my Intro to Preaching class. It was a Friday, and that night we went to a talk by Walter Brueggemann at a local church. He and I went to Starbucks afterward and he told me he didn’t see the relationship going anywhere. You see, he’s the type that wants to be really deep and theological all the time (case in point: he updated his Facebook status once about how he was washing dishes and contemplating a monk’s practice of praying while listening to an audiobook about Christ’s incarnation and got emotional).* As much as I love theology and love talking about it, I also love talking about pie and how you should be able to get it in a drive-thru, so I’m really not always all that deep. Now, I’m not blaming Brueggemann for the so-called “break-up,” but part of me definitely wants to because I enjoyed his talk, but I had nothing about it that I really wanted to dissect or deeply discuss afterward.
One of my favorite books is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. My favorite chapter is titled: “You’ll Be Different at the End.” He tells us that the point of life is really about character transformation.
“If the character doesn’t change, the story hasn’t happened yet.”
Donald Miller then writes about his friend named Marcos who discovered something key to the story our lives tell through studying physical bodies and philosophical reality or something along those lines.
“When he finished, I asked Marcos what he’d discovered; and he said, essentially, humans are alive for the purpose of journey.”
Donald found it fascinating that Marcos discovered something essential to the lives of every person. We each interact with each other and the world and out of all this, time makes us different people.
“For instance, Marcos said, ‘The human body essentially recreates itself every six months. Nearly every cell of hair and skin and bone dies and another is directed to its former place. You are not who you were in February,’ he told me.”
You probably don’t need to guess how that line struck a chord with me. Last February was a season and, without a doubt, it changed me. You can tell just by going back and rereading my posts from last March; I wrote about it a lot. The experience deeply impacted me. But then I kept moving forward, kept interacting, and through it all, I became a different person. I was no longer who I was in February.
But now it is February once again.
So, what does it all mean? Well, I am thankful that I am not who I was last February, though I may be wearing the same outfit. I have become better. I have definitely learned more about the world and myself. But the best part about it all is that I am going to continue to become better. And so will you. This February is a month to celebrate because all of the interactions will shape us and change us.
I entered this month of February once again with hope, but a different kind of hope. I have no possibilities of a new relationship, but I have a new hope. I have a hope that God is still working on me. He promises are still true for me. My future isn’t bleak. And yours isn’t either.
Someone recently told me that people read blogs for the same reason they listen to music. He told me that my blogs shouldn’t be like a sermon because people don’t want something they can learn from, they want something they can relate to. Well, I honestly don’t set out to be that intentional when I write blogs. Most of the time, it is just me word vomiting via keyboard to Word Document, but I hope and pray that you can both relate to and learn from what I say. I don’t have it all together, but I do have hope that God is not just changing me, but is also changing you because I know that you can become more than you are today.
*Disclaimer: I’m sure he doesn’t read this blog, but if for some odd reason, he does: I’m sorry I was making fun of you getting emotional while washing dishes. Also, in your status, you spelled “monastery” wrong. But, I am sorry. I maybe am being too specific. After all, I am basically doing all but rhyming your name with a similar name that makes it glaringly obvious that I am talking about you. I’m sorry. I enjoyed last February spending time with you. And I apologize about that time when you said hi and I said hi back while I was thinking about how nice it would be to punch you in the stomach and then you texted me later that day and asked if everything was okay between us and if I wanted to get coffee to talk about it and I denied because I said that everything was good between us which was a lie because I definitely wanted to punch you in the stomach but I also definitely did not want to talk about it. I have come to terms with two things through all this: I am glad our relationship didn’t last longer than a month and I also realize that I am probably a little crazy. And maybe someday I will cry while doing dishes thinking about the Trinity and be able to relate.