In the year since Africa, there was one trip to the beach.
I stared at the water - so vast and limitless - contemplating the reality of how simultaneously in that moment, a Rwandan hiked hours to fill his yellow bucket, while I took mere steps to stand beside an entire ocean.
In the year since Africa, there were hundreds of people who informed me what they “needed”.
These “needs” included: more steamed soy milk, decaf espresso only, less space in their coffee cup, a larger piece of banana loaf, a cheaper drink, more space in their coffee cup, or the homeless person that was begging outside to please leave as she was disturbing "the coffee shop vibe".
In the year since Africa, there was a diagnosis.
There were innumerable doctor appointments, eight chemotherapy treatments, one surgery, more needles than I can count. Pills, a lot of pills, and charts, and IV watercolour bruises, and nurses that came to the door almost everyday.
In the year since Africa, there was an opportunity to join the amazing community of (in)courage.
It was here I was extended grace and community. It was here that, for me, my inexperience and inadequacy became prominent, and it was here where that prominency was promptly ignored, because I was accepted simply for who I am.
In the year since Africa, there were more prayers uttered than ever before.
I ignored God for a little while (I thought this would help, when in reality it only hurt) but when I came back to Him, I asked for a cure for cancer, for an end for world poverty, for a tangible way to make a difference, and hundreds of other requests in the gaps between.
In the year since Africa, there were people who changed my life for the good and for good.
There was a lot of writing, and a lot of drawing, which led to a small shop opening. There was a search for hope. There was a longing for something more than what I had been living.
In the year since Africa, there were many celebrations.
There were six birthdays, Christmas, my parents 25th wedding anniversary, and then there was the fact that my brave beautiful momma finished her eight rounds of chemo.
In the year since Africa, there was a moment of realization in which every day is a day deserved to be celebrated.
In this year since Africa?
It was a year I never imagined, nor expected, nor wanted - not in my wildest of dreams. But it was my year. And it was the worst and the best of times commingled and wrapped into one.
So today, as I reflect upon this, I take a breath, and ask Jesus to keep holding me through this next year, this next season, this day.
Hold me. Hold me. Hold me. And whisper Your grace through it all.