this anniversary is extra special this year because not only is it five years, but it’s also falling on a friday again.
november 2, 2007 was my first retreat with my at the time new youth group.
it was today that i learned that i had a family in these people.
it was today that i first realized that i could be totally accepted for who i was. i’d spent the last four years hating myself and hearing every day that i was too much and not enough. too fat, too loud, too slow, too lazy, not smart enough, not cool enough. but now, these real friends had taken me in and shown me that i was just right. i wasn’t annoying, i was funny. i wasn’t fat, i was beautiful. i wasn’t complicated, i was fascinating. and i didn’t seem loud to people who wanted to listen to me.
i remember lying on the floor between melanie and shane that night and feeling more content than i had in possibly my whole life. i was loved.
i never imagined at that time that i’d ever have to miss those days. i felt like youth group would be part of my life forever. i’d grow up someday, but i’d always be able to come back if i chose. there were plenty of college kids on that trip; in a few years i’d just become one of them.
but nothing stays the same.
there are no more fall retreats, and ridge haven isn’t like it used to be. this time of year hurts now. instead of a weekend making new memories, i look back at all the old ones. and they make me happy for a while, but in the end all they do is remind me that there won’t be anymore of them. a lot like looking at pictures of someone who’s dead. remembering them can only do you so much good; it’ll never be like having them around.
but i have to make do with what i have…and i really can’t help but smile about these.