A year ago around this time I wrote a little summary of my life so far. I posted it on my tumblr account, which I have since deleted. I’d like to write about my previous year at Seattle Pacific and my hopes for next year. This is a little exposition.
“It really is great of you to take me in like this,” he told the people in the front seat. The woman looked back, gave the kind of smile where her eyes didn’t, and proclaimed, “He’s trying to talk!”
“Trying?” the little person hazarded his first question. In response the woman just laughed and grabbed his left foot between her forefinger and thumb and shook it gently. “Your sister will love you!” she said after a minute of this.
“This is going to be a long childhood,” the baby groaned inwardly. He began to cry.
But it wasn’t a long childhood at all. Before he could grasp the concept of a year, several had passed. He could not only walk, but bounce and run and hop. His parents, sister, and most other people could now understand his speech. Music would float into his room on many days, and it was through music that he learned how to use his ears. He listened, and — when ready — grabbed a few notes and tried them on. They fit awkwardly, like the clothes his sister shoved him into sometimes and giggled so much at.
“This is going to be a terrible way to spend my time,” the toddler thought bitterly. He began to cry.
But he realized this new place wasn’t as terrible as he thought it would be. The others, for there were other small people who found themselves in the same place, they all seemed to be generally decent playmates. He played and laughed with them for years, but also listened whenever the tall woman felt like saying something. He counted, he read, he wrote. But in the end he always went home to be with his parents and sister, who he discovered had already learned whatever he had. Sometimes his sister poked fun at him, but she also helped him understand whatever happened. He learned how to clumsily make music with an instrument instead of his voice. His favorite thing was when his dad patiently played along.
When he began to feel at peace with these new rhythms, the song changed. His house rejected his family, and he had to cut off the friendships he spent years building and prepare to find new ones. His parents told him they were going on a grand adventure to a land surrounded by water, but he didn’t really care for this plan. The choice wasn’t his. So he packed everything up like the rest of them and got into the red van, which was awaiting the long voyage.
“Life is going to end,” the kid thought with the melodramatic certainty that can come easily to a small person facing a large change. He began to cry, but felt stupid for it.
Of course, life continued after the three-day journey. Their home had followed them in the move, even if it did take them some time to unpack it. There was a new building here where he went to learn new things and build new friendships. The music also followed them, so he used it to plug into new places. He realized that his parents had known all along that he would like it there. He shifted around and became comfortable and happy.
Time kindly slowed down so he could take his time living in it. He matured a bit in this new home and began to grapple with faith. He loved the church they attended and spent a good deal of time there. It welcomed them as if they were family.
The years began to feel cyclical. Music, laughter, family, church, sadness, love, school, all of them swirled him around in an intricate dance. He learned from the rhythms of time and attempted to prepare himself for the next inevitable change. He packed his bags calmly to let himself know that he could. He said ‘goodbye’ to the big building and the teachers in it. ‘Goodbye’ to his church. ‘Goodbye’ to his friends. ‘Goodbye’ to his home.
He woke up. The day had come. The only thing he was scared of was his own sense of readiness. He hugged and thanked his parents, sent a kiss to his sister who had moved out before him, let a tear fall, and bravely boarded the grey plane that was awaiting him.
“This is going to be—“ the young man began. But he thought better of it and decided to let time speak for itself.