It’s been a little over a month since I left Many Glacier, and I still cannot fathom all of the glorious blessings God has given me this summer. Sometimes in life, our trials can often seem like roadblocks; however, God showed me this summer that that isn’t always the case. This summer held many trials for me, involving my family, my friends, and my job. More often than not, it was some sort of combination between the three. But, I truly believe that God uses the people in our lives to speak to us. He puts us through certain situations and in certain places to show us different lessons we need to learn. For me, this summer in Glacier showed a plethora of things, but there were a few things that stood out the most:
Communication is Key:
Just like in any relationship or friendship, communication is key. Being able to have people you can talk to for one, but being able to be vulnerable and express your fears, doubts, and worries with people is so vital. And for me, this summer really showed me just how crucial it is for me to be around a solid group of people who are able to communicate well with me. Despite me being around so many people this summer, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so isolated and lonely. That’s hard for me to admit, because if you know me, you know that I can tend to bottle things up and not admit when something is wrong. And that’s what I did for the majority of the summer. I pretended as if everything in my life was fine, when in actuality it wasn’t.
Being introverted in nature, it can be hard for me to open up to people if I feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable in any given situation. Not to say I won’t open up, but it makes it harder to talk to people. In most instances this summer, a few people had to force me to talk about what was going on. There was one friendship in particular this summer that I really struggled with, and despite talking and working things through before I left Glacier, I couldn’t help but think on my drive home that maybe things wouldn’t have been so tense all summer if I had just sucked up my pride and stubbornness and had talked to them sooner. With this particular friend, this summer truly showed me the importance of communication. While it’s something I’ve always known, I realized that 99% of the problems we had this summer wouldn’t even have existed if I had just had spoken up and had been honest enough to put my feelings into words. Instead, I did the opposite. I felt as if ignoring the problem would magically fix things, but in reality, it didn’t. And when I figured that out, I began to “fix” the problem by trying to be a better friend without ever really communicating to them that there was a problem until it got to a point where we weren’t really speaking. Trust me when I say that, communication is so essential to any type of relationship you have. Having close friends who are like family require communication, because without communication, you have nothing. You need people in your life who aren’t afraid of communicating how they’re feeling, who aren’t afraid to be brutally honest with one another, and someone that, no matter if you get frustrated or angry with one another, is always going to have your back.
As we grow older, we really just want people in our lives that are good to us, good for us, and good for our soul. We as humans crave genuine, authentic community; relationships that allow us to be ourselves, to have raw and honest conversations. We need people in our life who are going to hold us accountable, who will continually encourage us in every season of our life, people who will push us to be the best version of ourselves and not let the past hinder our future.
I’ll be honest. I’m starved for connection, not attention. I could care less if I’m the center of attention, because I dislike being in the spotlight. But in the in midst of my mainly unplugged summer, I felt isolated, and to be fully real with you all, I still do. I’ve felt like I can’t even talk to people who I have been friends with for years for fear of judgement. But let me tell you something: when it comes to having authentic relationships, It’s not our job to judge. It’s not our job to figure out if someone deserves something. Our job is to lift the fallen, restore the broken, and to heal those who are hurting. The thing is, when God puts love and compassion in your heart toward someone, He’s offering you an opportunity to make a difference in that person’s life. You must learn to follow that love. Don’t ignore it, act on it. Somebody needs what you have. Again, that’s where communication is so important, because if you can’t be fully real with the people around you, you can’t expect them to do the same. With this in mind, we need to be vulnerable and be willing to reach out and ask for help when needed. If we don’t let people see the real us, and see our struggles, how are they supposed to help us grow and get through all the adversities we face? We need to be honest with ourselves as well, not just other people.
Living in the Present Moment:
We sometimes stay so focused on what God has done for us in the past that we sometimes forget about the beauty of all that God has yet to lead us to. Don’t get me wrong, reflecting on the past can be a wonderful thing, but we’re not meant to live our lives there. Often like the mountaintop moments of our life, we’re called to live in the valleys, to grow from our experiences and to learn from one another.
I’ve found that we often cannot control our circumstances, but we can control out attitude and how we deal with it. This summer was vital for me and for my relationship with God; it showed me many areas of my life that I still need to work on: my lack of confidence in myself and my abilities, my communications skills, my attitude towards life and the people around me, and the importance of community. One major thing is that I have become seemingly more aware that I tend to dwell on the past a lot more often than I should. Looking back on everything, I think this started more shortly after my dad passed away. I’ve been thinking, quite honestly, overthinking, about all of the little things that I could have done to change certain outcomes in life. But, then I realize that If those events didn’t play out the way they did, I wouldn’t be where I am today; I wouldn’t have met all of the wonderful people I worked with in Glacier these past two summers.
The truth of the matter is, life is too precious to waste. When we look at life from that aspect, we learn not to take certain moments, or people for granted. Quite honestly, that can be hard in the pro-technological world we live in. Living in Glacier for a second summer in a row showed me that we sometimes need to disconnect from the outside world and focus on what truly matters, the present moment.
Simply put: life becomes more meaningful when you realize that you’ll never get the same moment twice. And being someone whose emotional doesn’t make you any less of a person. Embrace it. Take advantage of every opportunity. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be authentic with those around you and let your empathetic nature shine through. Communicate with each other. Be honest and don’t let fear hinder your future. Someone once told me that I was beautiful because I let myself feel, and how that was a brave thing. I never understood what they meant when they said it, but now I do. It’s okay to show emotion, and to be true to who you are. Life affects people differently, but in the end, our emotions shouldn’t hold us back. Be messy, and complicated, and afraid, and show up anyways.