It's 2015. The year of my college graduation. The year I start grad school. The year of "lasts" and "see-you-later's".
And in 2014, so much changed.
It's pretty funny to look back at my first post on this blog, which I wrote the year I graduated from high school. I liked that version of me for a while, but I'm really glad she grew up a little and learned a few things.
This has been a "growing" year. This has been a challenging year - more so than any other. I gained friends, lost friends, spiraled out of control, put my worth in futile things, trusted God more, questioned God, walked with friends who doubted all of existence including God and walked away from faith, walked away from faith a few times myself, and experienced unparalleled, overwhelming anxiety in the midst of it all.
I learned things. I grew up a little bit. And even though the aforementioned scenarios all completely sucked, the wisdom and experience that came of them creates a positive net gain. So as glad as I am to see 2014 go - and stay really really far behind me - it wasn't all bad.
I don't think I have time to go into all the details; that would take approximately forever. So to get to the point of all of this: I learned to love the Process.
Well, what does that mean?
You may have noticed if you exist in the context of western culture that we as a society are very goal and product oriented. Everything is about the "next" thing; bigger, better, more, blah blah blah... Yet rarely does anything end in fulfillment in this lifestyle. Not to mention, when we focus on the end result with such fervor, we have a greater tendency to compromise and try to justify the means, which can mean any number of things: dignity, ethics, happiness, honesty, loved ones, and the list could go on for a while.
I've realized that to live in this world of "End Result Only" is to only place worth and value on a very few small and sporadic moments. This is not something I'm interested in. That's not the kind of life I want to live.
I believe in the inherent value of each human life. I believe every person has worth based on nothing other than pure humanity. For this reason, I have no desire to live in a world where I'm defined solely by my End Results and accomplishments and arbitrary milestones. No one else should have to either.
Now don't get me wrong; if you accomplish something big: CELEBRATE IT! You deserve to celebrate success! This past semester I presented my "Junior" Recital for piano where I had to play about 40 minutes of solo music, almost all memorized, and let me tell you: I was TERRIFIED. I was so so nervous. It was a big deal; it was an end result, a goal I was working toward. There was a lot of weight on this one event. So many of my friends and family came to support me and listen as I performed my heart out, and afterward I was celebrated - it felt really good! I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I worked my butt off essentially for the last 3 and a half years to get to that point. That work was not in vain; it was not solely for that one recital. It was actually through music that I learned how to begin enjoying the Process that is Life. It's about having big goals and big dreams, and setting smaller goals that are stepping stones, and analyzing (and enjoying!) mistakes and failures knowing that you're closer than you were before you messed up - you're doing something.
Problem-solving and creativity work in this vein: the route you take to get where you're going becomes much more meaningful than the destination. That may not be super clear or practical, but that's what I've learned this year.
I have learned to ask questions. I have learned to critically evaluate my own beliefs; why do I think/feel/believe what I do? How did I get here? What have I assume and taken for granted and never truly questioned? This happened with God, Jesus, religion, church, faith. The more I learn, the less I know. This is beautiful to me.
The Katie that started this blog after high school graduation was born and raised in an evangelical "Christian Culture", and she clung to that for hope. The Katie that is writing today no long ascribes to some implied social construct that dictates how and what I believe. But God is the same: yesterday, today, and forever. To think that somehow I know all of the answers to anything is insane. What human has the power to know absoluteness? I believe the answer is: None. So I'm contented and convicted and committed to learning for the rest of my life. I will ask questions. I will be okay with not having all the answers. I will hear from other people. I will listen to every possible perspective and background; every human is worth being heard. I will love people as my highest call from God with the love He first showed us all.
You could say I'm "liberal" or "crazy" or "blasphemous" or whatever you want. Those things might all be true. But until I know for sure, I'm just going to try to trust and love God, love people, and always enjoy the Process until the very end.
Happy New Year.