Battle Ground

This semester took a lot out of us. As I’ve talked to my friends and even read in other people’s blogs – the past 6 months have not been easy. I will not say whether this semester was good or bad. I am growing tired of these labels. Instead I will say this semester was a hard one with lots of different experiences.

As I’ve had a few moments to catch up on sleep and work on my mental capacity, I’ve also had the chance to reflect. I’ve taken a friend to the ER, gotten up at 1am to hear tears fall on the other end of the phone, carried the weight of heartache and loss, listened to a “what am I doing with my life” crisis – had one of my own, and battled my way alongside my friends through the ominous sophomore slump. I’ve also gone on late-night milkshake runs, blasted music in my Jeep with my dearest friends windows rolled all the way down, played soccer at midnight in the rain, and swam in a fountain. I could go on and on – those are just a few of the highlights. Some of these things are utterly crippling and others are uplifting. Through all of this I’ve seen different responses. Some have crumbled and accepted defeat; others have rallied their friends in support to lift one another up.

What I’ve noticed is that every single person I’ve spoken to has said the exact same thing – this semester was hard. As I stand with a friend I am stunned to hear these words come out of their mouth. They have lived this semester with such grace and strength – or so it seems. Some people are better at putting on a face, and others have given up putting on the face because they have fought the battle too long. Some have used the pain of heartbreak to rally together and fight as one – comrades in arms. Others have sought out these people and sat with them in silence, sitting in an air of understanding and knowledge of one another far below the surface.

Things may not go according to plan, but you are not alone. Life is a heap of twists and turns and usually nothing goes the way you think it will. It’s OK not to be ok. If anyone tells you it’s not and to get over it, then respectfully tell them to get over themselves.

A friend saw me sitting in the lobby in the first stages of this semester and sat down next to me, and said those famous words “How are you?” Of course I wasn’t going to lie, because the answer was written all over my face. After I verbally expressed my not OK-ness he said, “welcome to life.” Encouraging, right? But here’s this – if you think life in this world is perfect then you have grown up in a mighty fake world. Remember that saying; don’t judge a book by its cover? Yes, well it still applies here. Life is going to be hard and it’s going to be full of things you don’t want and hardships you didn’t expect to face, but welcome to life friends. Here’s the best part. Wait, there’s a good part? Yes. You are not alone. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for we are fighting this battle together.

After saying all this. I want to say bravo friends. We have fought another day. We may have lost battles, but we haven’t lost the war. Tomorrow is a new day and we must choose our fight. We can get up and give up – doing nothing to change our current state or we can fight with everything we’ve got. I’m not saying it’s easy, but we have a choice of how we feel. We can let the difficult times defeat us or we can change our approach. I’m not saying we’re going to choose high ground every time, but we can if you have the right people flanking you. If you haven’t found them yet, keep looking – they will come. Until then, live day to day and choose how you’re going to live – even better, live minute to minute and choose joy. Stay strong friends, we will can this war.

– a. marlo

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