Six lessons in six months.

Today marks six months. Six months of what you may ask. Well, six months since I started a new job in Philadelphia, six months since I left my family after attending my grandfather’s funeral, six months since moving from my “City of Dreams” to the city of “Has potential, Needs Improvement”, and six months since I said my “so longs” and “see you laters” to my community and began long-distance relationships with each of them.

Six months is such a long time. And six months is a blink of an eye. These past six months have been hard, oh so hard, but they have been incredibly good to me.

I like to call these my “beauty from ashes” months.

And lessons were taught and attempted to be learned. Here are six those.

1.) It’s okay to admit hard things are hard. I traveled for 13 weeks with few breaks this last fall and I’m currently on a two week tour of the Midwest for work. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but there were dark days. When I finally admitted that being away from home and splitting my time between airports, hotel rooms, and unfamiliar college campuses was not the most glamorous of lifestyles, I had the freedom to be okay with the bad days. Accepting the bad days made the good days that much better.

2.) Sometimes eating alone can be more life-giving and peace-bringing than other things you expect to be life-giving and peace-bringing. I still prefer sharing my meals with friends and family, but after hours of talking with students and staff, you realize there is hardly any time to think. I have started to use my alone meal times for devotionals and reflection. See, life-giving and peace-bringing.

3.) Even if you basically live in airports, hotels, and unfamiliar college campuses for thirteen weeks straight, there is still time to make time. Make time for friends, for family, for God. These things are important and will keep a busy person (and not-so-busy person) sane.

4.) If you put your heart to it, long-distance relationships will be fine. Actually, they’ll be better than fine, they’ll flourish. Again, there is always time for these relationships. I have the best friends and family. They’ve made living in Flipadelphia and traveling so much more meaningful and joyful.

5.) There are few things more important than being with family in times of struggle and heartbreak. ‘Nough said.

6.) Eucharisteo is vulnerable. Eucharisteo is necessary. In the midst of struggle, newness, and change, being thankful is hard; I know from experience. Choosing to be thankful and living in a eucharisteo way is allowing yourself to break down the walls you’ve built and say “yea, things are hard and they are new, but I’m thankful for this journey.” It changes perspective. It changes lives.

Six lessons in six months. Here’s to years more of learning.

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