2014. What a year.
So as it is the last day of it, I think perhaps it is time to look back a bit, and with our last glance back remember that we have always things to look forward to.
I remember the beginning of the year for me. I was going to another Bible college before the one I go to now, up in Upstate New York. I don’t know if I would do the beginning of the year again, as it was near a lake and therefore felt like the North Pole up until April. But I learned much through it, especially when the Teen Winter Camp started.
I, like a lot of people, volunteered myself for camp counsellor. It would mean that I would be taking on a small group of teens, keeping them safe and happy during the weekends. It was the first time that I would get the chance to be a father figure for a bit. It was certainly not easy, but it had its ups as well as downs. The first weeks I was unable to do much good at all. By the end, I realized something. I enjoyed parenting. I really did! Regardless of the mental handicaps, behavioral patterns and any issues that we faced, I really enjoyed teaching them, guiding them, consoling them when upset and praising them. I even grew to appreciate the time correcting, because I knew it would guide them into becoming a better person.
And then, during that time I found something. I was finding myself to be slowly becoming more and more interested in a lady friend of mine. Apparently she and I were the only ones who saw it coming, as we were so massively different. Me, a hipster geeky, metal lover, and her, a rap-loving, baggy-clothed dreadlocked gangster chick; we seemed incompatible even as friends. And yet, two weeks into the spring semester, we found ourselves going out regularly, and eventually, after a bit of talking, were officially dating. I had known her for some time up until that point, but to be actually dating the person you want to be? That’s a very surreal feeling.
And as quickly as it began, summer came and we had to make a decision now that our paths were separating. Would we continue as before, or would we have to go our separate ways? There was always long-distance, but still…
In the end, we decided splitting up for a while was the best option. And maybe that will return, who knows.
So came summer, and once again I decided to counsel at a youth camp. I hoped that I would get teens again. Apparently I was good with them, or so I thought. And yet as fate would have it, I found myself counseling children not much older than my own nieces and nephews, ages from five to twelve. I was terrified, and thought for a surety that I could not handle them.
And through that I learned something, too. I learned that parents don’t work just on occasion, they work all day, every hour, even in their sleep they are working. I would find myself comforting kids who were missing their parents, singing to kids who needed it, sitting down next to kids who just needed someone to talk to. It’s a beautiful thing, to take care of a child, I think. I can never underestimate the work parents do again, because it is incredibly hard. But it is also incredibly rewarding, and I would do it over and over again if I had the chance.
I learned a lot that summer. I gained friends that I will always remember, a man who I consider equal with my own brothers, and life lessons I will never forget. Most importantly, I gained wisdom that will stay with me for the rest of my life. You age a lot when you’re raising up the next generation for eight weeks straight.
Then came the end of summer. I would have to say goodbye to friends that I had for so long, and find new ones. I would be going into a place so much unlike what I had experienced before. I would be going from a very little known school to a massive one, Liberty University. I remember walking into the cafeteria and thinking, “Gosh, there’s more people here than live in my own hometown. How am I going to meet anyone?”
So I sat down next to a random person, and found out something. I’m not good at making starting conversations at all.
Weren’t expecting that one, were you? Some kind of sappy thing like I was putting before? Hah! Nice try, ain’t gonna happen!
But I kept trying anyway, and now I’m friends with like a quarter of the school. Basically if I’ve talked with you for about ten minutes you’ll find a Facebook request from me. I’m just that kind of person. With college came meeting new friends, cosplaying for the first time (Jack Skellington, since I’m incredibly and increasingly skinny), my everlasting hatred of finals week, and a very short dating period with someone who was already dating someone else.
And to end this brief tale of college, I must talk about the one thing that returned, which is the return of writing my novel Dark Soldier. While I was working on school things, I found out that I truly enjoy writing more than I enjoy my artwork. For me, it was probably the most unusual find of the year. Until that point artwork was my life and my joy and pride. But I came to find that as good as I was, I did it far more often because I was good at it than that I actually enjoyed it. And so now, I pursue things that I enjoy, not that I’m good at. I think life is better that way.
I think this is going to be the beginning of possibly the most epic journey of life I have ever had. And to think, in only a year and a half I’ll be out of college and heading out to find what my life work will be. It’s probably going to be finishing my novel the Soldier Chronicles, Dark Soldier being the first book of the series. Thanks to writing, I’ve gotten tons of friends and fans, in real life as well as online. I’ve gotten a blog, which I love writing for, a Twitter, which I never thought I would get, and over five hundred fans on Facebook! That’s mind-blowing to me. I never thought I would reach such a point. And so, with how much you blessed me, I want to bless you. So I present, my musical end to the year, Auld Lang Syne. Just follow the link, and you find me doing an instrumental cover of my favorite Scottish folk song. I have very fond memories associated with it.
I have so much to be thankful for this year, and with all the heartbreak and devastation and hard work I still wouldn’t trade this year for the world, not a single day.
God bless every single of you wonderful people.