Thankful.

You ever move so fast that you kind of leave yourself behind? I’ve done that over the past couple of weeks and I’ve actually regretted it. There are a lot of people I want to thank and a lot of stories I want to share, so this will be the start.

Chelsea- You are consistently pulling both virtues and flaws from me in such a pointed, but languid way that I wonder if you really know what you’re doing sometimes. All of it is beautiful, even the parts that are confusing and the couple of times it turned infuriating. I’m glad you’re my friend though, even if this bond lasts only for this moment, these have been fun, surprising, insightful and valuable moments. You’re such a wonderful young lady! Oh yeah, I’m happy that you’re happy right now! May every second be worthwhile!

Judah, Mary, Henry, Talia, and Shelley- Each of you inspire me. So much! It’s been so fun to find family in people who are so different from me. We’ve all embraced each other enough to be sharp-tongued and challenge each other to think more deeply and grow in our lives and in our craft. It’s beautiful thing to have someone look you in the face and tell you what you don’t to hear, but having a group of people do it is like finding unicorns (lol). You’ve managed to mark my soul over a short 5 weeks of time, let’s make this last one matter!

Frenchie, Mikey, Victor, Darnell, Terence, Jalen, Zeke, David and Leighton – We need a name for this group, there are too many of you to list haha! Anyway, it’s been such a joy to simply listen to each of you, to hear your struggles, to listen to your passions quietly sneak their ways out. You guys are all remarkable! We’re each at different places and have had vastly different experiences and that’s exactly why each of us is so necessary, and why we must continue to stand together. ~Hebrews 11:26

The Dial – What an awesome group of people you are! I’ve only spent a couple of hours with any of you, and many of you probably won’t ever read this, but you have some brilliant leadership in place, I knew it before he (Kevin, right? And Vania too!) even opened his their mouths. Everyone was warm and unafraid to engage in conversation. I felt welcomed like I have in few other places. This place is going to surge with people really soon and it’s going to take some serious work to maintain the vision for the art without sacrificing the community, but it can be done and I think you guys can do it. I can’t wait to come on board!

Elizabeth- You’re leaving us tomorrow. You are wise in ways that I don’t even understand yet. God tells you freaking jokes, AND THEY’RE FUNNY! It’s crazy! You really know Him. You know each other. You have conversations and when there’s nothing to say, you know how to simply be still and enjoy his company. Even if you never said a word about it, it’s obvious. Your random revelations and interjections of wisdom were missed when you went to Arizona, and they’ll be missed when you take them back to Irvine. Keep laughing, Elizabeth. If everything else falls apart, and nothing in your life makes sense anymore, you have to promise me that you’ll keep laughing, okay? Live well, dear.

James- We live in the same room and somehow hardly even see each other anymore. Even when we do, I’m usually too tired or busy trying to be quiet or trying to retreat from conversation, but you need to know that I respect you. You’ve been working like 60 hours a week, preparing for fatherhood, taking care of your girl, hitting the gym consistently, and trying to honor God in all of it. You’re becoming a man much more quickly than I am, and I’m proud of you for it. If I never get another chance to say it, your example inspires me. I know it gets difficult, but you’ve counted the cost already and you’re saving like a boss, keep pushing forward! Gumbuktaenae!!!!

Frenchie- You have your own apartment now, complete with cable, wi-fi, a new laptop, and Bible verses on 3×5 cards taped to doors and walls as reminders to live right. You wake up at like 3 or 4 every freaking morning, and still make time to talk to your woman when she gets off work at midnight (that’s some kind of sacrifice, fam) If I had to describe you in a sentence, I’d say that you strive to do everything right. We both know you ain’t perfect, but you don’t count perfection as a thing to be grasped, instead you humble yourself to the point of death, even death of your free will to make the same dumb mistakes as everyone else and learning the hard way. You are textbook faithfulness. Don’t stop.

Miss Eboni- You are the most excellent example of a young woman that I have had the pleasure to be acquainted with (even though I was apparently a jerk when we first reconnected :P). Part of me wants to write more simply because I did so for everyone else, but the other part of me reads that first sentence and knows that that’s all that needs to be said. “A fool speaks because he feels the need to say something, but a wise man speaks because something needs to be said.”

David- Right under my nose, you’ve become a man. You work longer hours than I do on a consistent basis, and you’re learning to balance that with spending time with loved ones and doing things that matter instead of devoting it all to video games. You’ve a sharp wit and a solid head on your shoulders, and you’re quickly growing into a man who leads by example before word. I’m proud of you.

And last, but certainly not least:

Ash- Any time I spend with you is packed to the brim with challenging and encouraging truth. I always leave your presence elevated! You see straight into me and can immediately pick my heart apart through my words as soon as they’re spoken. You’re dope. I’m glad God gave me a brother like you, dude. I need that in my life.

Karissa- I forgot you, hun! You’ve come a long way from those nights I used to be out with you and your random friends til after curfew when your dad called the cops on me (Good times!) You’ve had some difficult moments and made some hard choices, but you’re learning how to make good ones, and even though nobody makes it in this world without help, you and you alone have brought yourself to this point where you still have a world of opportunities before you. Life ain’t perfect and the road ain’t easy, but you’re on the right one and I thank God for it! I love you!

After reading over this I realized that everyone on this list either challenges or inspires me (or both!) I think that might be the greatest need I have in my life right now. Thank you each, and if you weren’t mentioned, it just means that I haven’t really spent any time with you recently. I couldn’t possibly put every single person who matters to me here. I hope I get to see some more of you soon!

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