February has always been a big deal in the life of Krysti. I’m not sure why, I’m not sure how, but these special, note-worthy moments somehow all land in the shortest month of the year.
It was the month, years ago, I found out I had been accepted to go on a two week trip to a small country in south eastern Africa. The month, a year later, I decided to return and lead a two month internship. The same month, a year after that, I finally told the world my plans of moving there after graduation – inviting people into the very sacred and vulnerable dreams I had been harboring for a while.
It was the month I wrote my very first blog post (not linked here because, eish, that thing is embarrassing). It was the month I agreed to step onto the very scary stage of Flood College and share a part of my story most friends had no idea about. It was the month, two years later, I stepped onto another scary stage and gave a TEDx talk.
It was the month I moved back from Malawi, the month I started the whirlwind process of working from home in an office of one with “co-workers” across the world while also adjusting to America once again. It was the month, a year later, I found myself entering the world of corporate America, wondering what, exactly, my world was coming to. It was the month, this year, I got to accept a new, exciting job opportunity that I think will more fully line up with who I am and what I’m all about.
It was the month I got to help baptize two Flood Youth students who still mean the world to me; the month I took so many trips up to winter camp with a rental car full of high schoolers. It was the month I got real with God about certain parts of my life, yelling at Him up on that mountain. It was the month, my senior year of high school, I realized I had no idea where my life was headed. I still kinda don’t.
It was the month I got a biopsy of my never-functioning-correctly thyroid. The month of “love” (according to Hallmark), but the month of a few bruised hearts for me. The month I learned boundaries and communication and limits are all part of a healthy person.
It’s been a month of endings and beginnings, of exciting steps and scary news. Its always been that month, for me, where emotions are heightened because there’s just so many of them – the tensions of two extremes, the figuring out process of how to hold both. The figuring out process of realizing my hands feel too small for such a tricky balance.
It was early in the morning when I got the text. I was overjoyed and excited and so, so happy for her… but a small part of me thought, What does this mean for me? A small fear seized up in my stomach, a small part of my brain resorted to the scarcity mindset I work so hard to avoid.
I was at work when I get the news. So exciting and so well-deserved and so great! … but, also, so scary to watch people walk down the life paths that I want to be walking down. So hard to see friends living life experiences that just aren’t mine at the moment.
Where did they turn left, where I seemingly turned right?
Where did they turn right, where I seemingly turned wrong?
These thoughts can haunt you. These thoughts can ruin you.
How do you hold rejoicing and grieving, expectation and mourning, in the same hands? How do you watch your friends get the phone calls, the next steps, the exciting news that you yourself are desiring? How do you handle that with grace and truth, with acknowledgment of how you’re feeling but also with acknowledgment that there is enough sunshine for everyone?
Life isn’t a competition. But, boy, can it feel like one some days.
What I’m learning is that no matter how impossible it feels to hold their joy and your hurt or to feel your excitement and their pain – you can. You can. I’m learning there’s enough sunshine to go around, that someone else’s accomplishments doesn’t negate my chances, that God’s grace truly is limitless. No hoarding necessary, no competition to be won – there is enough for all of us at the table.
February has always been full of fun beginnings and bittersweet endings for me. It’s always been full of the big moments and the small. It’s always been full of the give and take of I’m-excited-for-you-and-still-sad-for-me and I’m-excited-for-me-and-still-sad-for-you.
I find myself drawn to celebrating the beginnings I wanted, expected, or fought for – new job! New chapter! New TEDx talk! But do I ever mourn the endings that come about at the same time? I also find myself drawn to grieving the endings that I didn’t want to come, that unexpectedly caught me off guard, that I wasn’t quite ready for. The break ups that feel like a punch in the gut, the loss of a friendship that seems out of no where, the seasons that end far sooner than expected. But do I ever celebrate the beginnings that is on the flip side of these moments?
Every ending is a new beginning, as they say. Every beginning comes as the result of some kind of ending.
I’ve been trying to find the balance; I’ve been trying to not run from the tension. I felt the excitement of giving my two weeks notice …but I also felt the strange sadness of the end of familiarity, of the end of a season – even when it’s a season I wanted to end. I felt the joy of a friend’s exciting news while also feeling the small uncertainty it brought me. I felt the excitement of my roommate’s new job, while I also felt the sadness of her having to leave. I felt a friend’s expectation, while also realizing that same thing isn’t close to happening in my life. I celebrated my new job with friends who are still looking for their own. I celebrated where I’m at with people who are craving the same exciting news, but it’s not their reality yet.
The balance is hard. Sometimes it seems impossible. Sometimes it seems like our hands are not big enough, our arms are not strong enough. There’s so much to hold, and the world likes to say you should only carry one or the other. Be happy! Be excited! Celebrate!! Or, Be sad! Get upset! Stay gloomy! I think life is so much bigger, so much more complicated, that one or the other. It’s a both / and situation.
So now I’m holding grief and joy in the same palm. I’m holding expectation and loss together. I’m choosing to celebrate endings as well as beginnings, choosing to see not only the good but also acknowledge the bad (when needed). You know what the balancing secret is? Open hands.