In no specific order, here are 21 things I've learned in 21 years:
I felt untouchable.
Walking into this school year just three short weeks ago, my head was held high, and I felt like I wasn’t going to let anything get me down.
Before I left home, I asked both my parents and my brother what their favorite year of college was. They all said year three.
If that was all of their best year, it should be mine too. Right?
Granted, year three of college was when my parents started dating.
But still, skewed results and flawed logic aside, year three for me should follow suit with the rest of Team Ellis… right?
On Saturday, sitting in my dorm at midnight after the Gator game that they all came to Gainesville for, staring at my brother who had been standing there for an hour while I just sobbed, I wonder where my “best year yet” was.
I cried, as he begged me to talk to him. I told him he should leave, but he wouldn’t (firm believer in that a big brother is one of the best gifts God can give a girl).
He would let me cry, and then ask me again to talk to him.
I explained to him that I didn’t even know what exactly was wrong, because a lot of what was swirling around in my head didn’t make sense to me.
I feel more secure in the community I have here than I ever have, my faith is in a solid spot and my semester is lining up well. But still, I found myself struggling to not feel lonely and to feel happy a lot of days.
I explained to him how certain situations in my life are out of my control but feel like they’re controlling my life.
I explained to him the realization I’m having that every kid with CP is different. And while I’m truly in some of the best shape of my life, I’m still in a lot of pain. Which, at this point, likely means a lot of my pain is probably just going to be a chronic struggle for me.
And that just plain sucks and is a really hard pill to swallow.
I told him that it’s really hard for me that for the first time, the three of them are all together living in Orlando, and I’m here in Gainesville.
I wanted to go home. Suddenly, I was crumbling right in front of my brother.
Which was the last thing I was expecting coming into this year.
As I leaned into him and soaked his shirt with tears, I realized one thing: even when you feel untouchable, you still need other people. You still need to give into the freedom of depending on Jesus. Because that feeling of being untouchable is just that. A feeling. And even in just a short three weeks, it can be stripped from you.
As he sat on my bed, and my parents who had now come back into my dorm and were standing in front me, my eyes drifted to the top of my desk where I have a wall of sticky notes.
It’s full of words some of my favorite writers wrote, reminding me how to be grounded in what I write and of the type of writer I want to be. One stuck out to me:
“Next to grace, I bet God thinks making us need each other was one of his best ideas.”
~ Bob Goff
Even when you feel untouchable, you still need to lean on other people.
Even when you feel untouchable and feel like you can handle it, you still need to turn to God and let him handle it.
Because combining those two things is the only way you’ll actually be untouchable. Not just feel like it.
Still counting on year three to power over a few hard moments and difficult situations. But learning to not let expectations control everything.
And continuing to learn the freedom in dependency on Jesus and the important people in my life.