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This Time of Year

I hate this time of year…

That’s a blog post opener I’ve actually been wanting to use since the last few weeks of the summer vacation. It is a bit drastic, I know, but it is also unfortunately true that the sentiment has endured almost a month into the fall semester. For quite a few years now, “this time of year” has meant too many goodbyes to count, an excessive number of changes packed into a few weeks, anticipated endings to summer events that may or may not pay off, and new beginnings that I should be excited about but I’m really not. (I used a run-on sentence there to emphasize the chaotic atmosphere of these times ;).

This year’s fall season/end of summer has brought with it multiple life events that merit their own blog post. However, a combination of business, perfectionism, writer’s block, and spiritual warfare (which all may be one and the same actually) have prevented me from writing about and really processing any of them.

I went to the Ultimate Frisbee Youth Club Championships Nationals tournament (aka UFYCCNT… jk that’s not the actual acronym) at the beginning of August. That brought with it a combination of exhilaration and melancholy as I reflected on the definite end to the high school era of my life, and the people and memories that I might be leaving with it. But like I said, that could be its own blog post.

Almost immediately after that, I moved out of the house. My childhood home of 19 years. Never moved. Never lived anywhere else. A massive change that is sometimes anticlimactic but also a pretty big deal when I think about it. I have too many thoughts about it to put here…

I got promoted at Chick-fil-A. I started on the UTD ultimate frisbee team. I once again bid farewell to many friends as they went off to college. My grandpa died. I saw all 11 of my siblings together again in a rushed, joyous reunion tinged with grief.

I have learned that one of the only ways I truly process, reflect on, and learn from life events is by writing about them. I know that about myself, and so does the Devil. I don’t know if I have ever felt so palpably or frankly, succumbed to spiritual warfare as much as I have in this season. At every thought or inclination to slow down and read, write, repent, or remember (I was gonna say “pray” too but that messes up with the coincidental alliteration), I have been caught up in distractions, excuses, and temptations. And I don’t want to use that like an excuse at all. I am still grappling with where those failures leave me now.

I’m also grappling with what makes this post worth posting. I always try to end my posts with a lesson I’ve gleaned from my mess, but all I’ve done is given a life update. I imagine that people usually read these posts for the little nuggets of wisdom and hopefully the good writing. But after some re-readings, I’m also thinking the “nuggets of wisdom” may be more like chunks of simplicity, so why do you read my posts? If you’ve gotten this far, past the Daniel life summary, there must be some reason. If it’s just because you care about me or are interested in me then I greatly appreciate it. Whatever the reasons, it’s something I have been thinking about. I write here because I want it to make a difference - in my life or someone else’s. I guess the discipline of writing is difference enough for me right now.

So this is me finally writing, finally trying to process this chaos rather than pushing on and ignoring it. On a bit of a depressing note, maybe my biggest takeaway is that my heart is not right with God. I guess I’ve known that, I’ve just ignored it for a while. But deep down, my heart also knows that by God’s grace, I never have to stop at that thought. To reference a great Casting Crowns song, I’m only ever One Step Away from surrender, from home, from Christ. So there it is. The chunk of simplicity. The uplifting thought of I’ve concluded from my depression. This post, for me, is a step in the right direction.

It means a whole lot to me for anyone to have read this far. Whether it impacted you or you only did it for me, thank you.

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