Friends from Hope College. Campers I had in my cabin over six years ago. Young Life girls that come to Campaigners every week. My family. People I work with. Wyld Life kids that show up to Club and bible study. My roommates. YL staff. My best friends that have spread out across the country. Five years of CILTs. My life overlaps with the lives of so many other people over the course of a year.
Three years ago I started this blog with no idea that it would be a project that would last more than a few months. I had always wanted to be a writer but could never get myself to write. I realized that if I couldn't be a writer maybe I could be a blogger. I have a poster on the wall of my classroom that reads, "If you wrote today than you are a writer." It's hard to convince 7th graders that they can be writers and even more difficult to convince myself. Yesterday as he was finishing his essay, one of my students asked me, "Miss Wright, do you ever actually write anything?" From his perspective I just grade papers, talk to the class, read books and write letters. But because of this blog I could tell him, "Yes, I'm a writer. I write almost every single day."
If you feel something calling you to dance or write or pain or sing, please refuse to worry about whether you're good enough. Just do it. Be generous. Offer a gift to the world that no one else can offer: yourself. -Glennon Doyle Melton
For the past three years this blog has been just what I originally hoped it would be-- a place to write about the people that my life overlaps with and to share our stories. Sometimes I look back through old posts and surprise myself with the things I wrote down. I may have forgotten about the YL paint war when we finished the night spitting raps under the playground or the day in January when Molls and I got Huddles and then walked down the Monon yelling, "IT'S SUMMER!" I could have forgotten how certain conversations and devotions made all the difference in my perspective and attitude during those hot, long summer days at camp. And if not for the blog, I definitely wouldn't have taken quite so many pictures in the last few years.
Among other things, this daily ritual of writing and recording has taught me to be accountable and intentional. Accountable to myself most of all, that I'm following through and hitting that orange publish button every day. Even when I'd rather go to sleep then upload pictures I'm doing it because I've decided it's something that matters to me. Maybe the best gift is that I've taught myself to be intentional about living a life that's full of overlapping and joy. At the beginning I had to think about how to fill up my afternoons or weekends with "blog worthy" things. And somewhere along the way between Skype calls and early morning bible studies, planning adventures and collaging for friends, showing up at Club and visiting friends it became second nature to live like this.
These four years post college have been my favorite years and the ones where I've felt the most myself. I was terrified to leave Hope, it's scary to graduate and head off into the unknown, but it's so much better than I thought possible. I've been able to document most of that time here and it's become a story for my readers. Sometimes I'll have YL girls or camp kids tell me that they want a life this fun when they grow up. I tell them it's absolutely possible, I'm definitely not the only one witha really fun life. So many people are living lives they're passionate about, they just don't have blogs so you can read about it everyday. Once you figure out what you love, that's what you should fill up your days with. You're the one who is deciding what your life looks like so why not make it something you're pumped about?
I'm learning over and over again that you've got to fill your life with what you love, with the things and the people that bring you the most joy. As we slowly discover the talents and gifts that God has given us, we have to find ways to make those things bigger in our lives. I'm writing and creating and hanging out with kids and sharing my faith and embracing whimsy because those are the things I'm confident God wants me to be doing. My life overlaps with a whole bunch of kids, most of the people reading this blog are girls between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one, and I know that God has put every single one of them in my life for a purpose.
It's exciting to think about what year four will look like. I keep growing and changing, meeting new people and experiencing different things with each new year. So many of the people I've written about in year three I didn't know before. In just over a month I'll get to meet a whole new year of CILTs. There will be new counselors joining the Tecumseh family. When the Fall comes around my classroom will fill up with dozens of new faces. In places I can't even predict yet I'm going to be meeting new friends and new kids who will overlap with my life. It's exciting just to think about.
I am a child of God, and so is everyone else. We are all on the same side. And so in each new person, I see an invitation to know a new side of God. There are as many sides of him as there are people walking the earth. I think that's why he keeps making people. He's not done telling us about himself yet. -Glennon Doyle Melton
You may not have a blog or know what Young Life is and maybe you hate bright colors and reading and friendship bracelets. That's okay. You and I can be very different from each other. But even if we're totaly opposites I hope that you'll figure out what you love. I love being around people who are excited about what they're doing, who are making the world a better place in their unique way. The world needs more people like that right?
The only thing a gift needs to do is bring you joy. You must find the thing that brings you joy in the doing of that thing, and not worry about the outcome. Your gift might be crucial and obviously helpful, like being a good listener, or it might be odd and unique. -Glennon Doyle Melton
Today is a party of balloons and streamers, Diet Coke toasts and shooting confetti for year three. Now I can't wait to see what year four will bring.
I think that God must really want us to connect with each other. He must want us to become a part of each other's lives and memories and he must want our hearts to get all tangled up with other hearts. We are each an island, but he gives us gifts to use as bridges into each other's lives. When we lay down our gift, we walk right over it and straight into another heart. -Glennon Doyle Melton
My plan: keep connecting with people. I've found that it's always worth it to reach out, to show up, to send a text, to plan a visit, to meet for dinner, to write a letter, to say hello, to offer help, to give a hug, to take a walk, to stay up late talking. People are always worth it.