This year has been one of the worst and best of my life.
The first half of this year, from January through June, my heart and my mind were desolate, dark places. I struggled with incredibly difficult family problems that had me ready to move out or run away to a friend’s house because home was such a hostile place. Full of anger. Full of hurt. Full of disappointment. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t concentrate, was failing my classes, and had no motivation to do better.
I would lie in bed every night, tossing and turning, hoping the day would end quickly. And every morning I couldn’t pull myself out of bed. I often wished I could fall asleep and not wake up or wake up 10 years later, hoping maybe life would be easier then. I cried multiple times a day, sometimes for no reason at all except my eyes needed to overflow.
I tried going to a counselor at my university but she told me everything was fine. “It seems to me that you are a very strong person,” she said. She had no idea. School was hard. Home was hard. Work was hard. Life was hard.
After a visit to the doctor in April I was diagnosed with severe depression. The doctor gave me a test which scales from 50-70. If you rate at 50 or below you are normal. If you are 60 you are moderately depressed, and at 70 you are considered severely depressed to the point of being suicidal. I was rated 78. That was the worst part, and you might not have even known unless I told you, because I’m good at wearing a smile.
The next six months would be some of the best of my life. In June, I flew 3,419 miles to San Jose, Costa Rica for the first time to meet one of my best online friends, Josue, and his church family at Ciudad Renuevo. From my home in Seattle, I had already learned to love Costa Rican culture and had become friends with many people at the church, but after going for two weeks in June, I fell in love with a country and a culture.
I told my new friends and family that I would be back in December, and here I am, sitting at the kitchen table in my house in Costa Rica getting ready to bring in the new year with a dozen of my best friends.
But that time in between — June through December — it was wonderful too. I worked as a swim instruction supervisor all summer and loved it. I went camping with my family and friends like I do every summer. I went to Missouri for two weeks and hung out with my two best friends, Mallory and Saige. I got a new job as a receptionist. I watched my little brother become a legal adult in November. And I finished my last fall quarter at SPU in December.
This year I went through trials, but this year I also saw God’s faithfulness, and I believe God has great things planned for this new year too. God-willing, I will finish studying at SPU in June and will move to Costa Rica in September where I will intern as an English teacher and work at my church, Ciudad Renuevo, building unity and reaching out to the city of San Jose.
Dios es bueno, todo el tiempo. (God is good, all the time.)
Feliz Año Nuevo, a todos mis amigos!