Faith, Personal Anecdotes

A Letter to Taylyn

Dear Taylyn,

The holiday season is here and with the wrapping of presents and buying of airplane tickets, family and friends are constantly on my mind. It is no secret these past couple years have been hard for us with personal hurdles, lock-downs, and political strife. At least for me during this time I have a clearer idea of who my true family is, not necessarily by blood, but by choice.

So, as the next holiday barrels toward us, I’d like to write to you about all I am thankful for. 

First on my list are the opportunities I’ve been given and where I am in life. Of course, there are things I worry about. You know me, a constant worrier for the future and her mysteries. However, I am taking more time these days to pause and look at what is around me. I am so grateful for my education and my budding career in academia. I have always been fond of school, but younger me would have never thought I’d be on a path to the highest degree possible. Here I am at the age of 23 finishing up my masters and applying to a PhD program. I look forward to continuing my pursuit of knowledge and intellectual endurance both as a student and as an instructor. School has not only given me an outlet for my endless curiosity, but amazing relationships as well.

It was the first week of college and I was meeting everyone who lived in my dorm, Driscoll Hall. I walked into one of the suites downstairs to say hello to our dear friend Jacob whom I had met at a retreat the week prior. There I met his roommates, some of which I also call close friends to this day. One of these young men was a boy named Noah. I think it’s evident what happened there, but 5 years later and my adoration for him is continuously growing. I am thankful for his love and all that he does to make me a better person, even if I push back sometimes. 

Through him I met more close friends. This includes his best friend, Spencer, who moved to Texas and lives just down the hall from us now. He is like a bit of home that is never far away. Through Spencer I also became great friends with Pete. He’s funny even when he doesn’t mean to be. I also met Patrick, who is quite literally the embodiment of chaos. I don’t need to tell you that, though. You know better than I. 

Other friends that mean the world to me are Brittany and Caitlin. They are two of the smartest women I’ve ever met and are always inspiring me to dig deeper into the world around us and reflect on morality. This brings me to you.

It’s funny to think our paths crossed so many times before our friendship became what it is now. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without you. You push me to follow my passions and are there for me no matter the circumstance. Your resilience knows no bounds and is always leaving me in awe. Never before have I seen such grace in the wake of desolation. Your beauty is only second to your radiant heart and I am beyond blessed to call you my best friend. This season is extra special to you since you’ll be celebrating a year of motherhood. Since Ellis cannot speak yet, I say on behalf of both of us that we are so thankful for your warmth and compassion. 

Speaking of family, I cannot leave out how thankful I am for them, too. I am fortunate to be very close to both of my parents, Allen and Cindi. Bless them for my difficult childhood and teenage years. No matter what, they always supported my dreams. It manifested in many ways including pep talks, my father flying me to Florida to attend NASA events, my mother surprising me with a beautiful cello, both of them bringing me to and fro golf practice nearly every day, and most of all, yet the most simple, a roof over my head and open arms whenever I need them.

Noah’s parents and siblings, too, have accepted me as family. I am thankful for Libby and Mark for the home cooked meals and support of my endeavours. Mia and Izzy are like sisters to me now. It seems silly but I am overwhelmed with joy at the simplest of times I spend with them, even if it’s just getting ice cream at a local shop and driving around the countryside.

As you can see I have so much to be thankful for. My health, my friends and family, and my potential future are all reasons I wake up in the morning and smile. I think a lot of people these days, especially our age, find it hard to see the silver linings in things. Being thankful can be a hard barrier to overcome when people think the world is out to get them. I wish them success in finding true happiness, or at the very least contentment. For me at least, I try to look to the bright side even in times of paralyzing darkness. I thank my loved ones and the Lord for this life. It is a good one.

Happy Thanksgiving my dear friend.

Lilly

Featured Image: Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window by Johannes Vermeer

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