2013 was a weird, tough, inspiring year. I’m calling it “The Year of the Unexpected,” because I was constantly hit with surprises that I never in a million years thought would happen. God showers us with blessings (and blessings in disguise) on His time, truly, and always when we seem to be least expecting it.
So with that, friends, here are my Ten Biggest Blessings of 2013!
1. Lunar Revolution 2.0: This was a play that I was cast in spring semester last year, and it was AMAZING. It was a devised play about the moon, its symbolism, and ultimately–what it means to be human in today’s struggling and broken world. The cast and crew became such a close-knit family as we created the play from scratch. It was humbling, inspiring, reaffirming of what I want to do, and it taught me a whole lot about myself. And because part of it was inspired by 1960’s NASA, I had incredibly poofy hair AND we got to do the hustle! Can’t get much cooler than that!
2. NOT going to Italy over the summer: See, this was originally a big bummer, BUT it ended up turning into one of the greatest experiences of my life! I was supposed to travel to Italy for four weeks to do a theatre study abroad program, but that fell through because not enough people signed up. So I scrambled to try to find an acting internship for the summer instead, and that landed me at the beautiful, amazing, Iowa Theatre Artists Company! I spent my summer in the small, historical community of Amana, Iowa (a place that is now very dear to my heart). I was part of a beautiful production called Oma Tales: Stories My Grandmother Told Me, where we got to interview members of the community, gather their stories about life in Amana, and turn them into a series of monologues and scenes to make up a play! It was so cool to talk to the community, write the show, act in it, and help out with all the other everyday aspects of a professional theatre company. Oma Tales was what first ignited the spark of telling others’ stories in me. Not only that, but I was living on my own, which allowed me to grow up, have lots of reflection time, and learn that I need to remember to take better care of myself emotionally and spiritually. And what was even better: I got to work with three of the most amazing theatre artists I have ever met: not only did Meg, Tom, and Marshall taught me so much about acting and theatre, but they are some of the most compassionate, passionate, humble, generous, and kind-spirited people I have had the privilege of meeting. SO MANY BLESSINGS. ♥
3. The ending of my relationship: Again, a whole lot of heartbreak here (that I’m still coping with), but the unexpected end of my over two-year relationship with my boyfriend over the summer has taught me so much. I was able to get out of such a toxic situation that would have destroyed me by now, and I’ve learned umpteen lessons about who I am, what my standards are, and, again, that I need to take care of myself. It brought me closer to God. It helped me refocus and realize my human worth and dignity, and that I will never, ever, let a guy treat me that poorly ever again. I am worthy of love and respect (just like all human beings), and I will never let another guy compromise that ever again.
4. Not being cast in Romeo and Juliet: Again, a disappointment of first semester, BUT with this audition I really put it in God’s hands for the first time ever, knowing that He would not give me something I couldn’t handle. And I really needed that time at the beginning of first semester to heal, grow, grieve the death of a friend and my relationship, and focus on taking care of myself. Beautiful things came from that period. Lots of self-discoveries.
5. Fall Alternative Break: I’ve posted a lot about this already, but my service trip to Mullens, West Virginia made a huge impact on my life and further pointed me towards pursuing a life of combining theatre with service. All the beautiful life lessons, warm fuzzies, new friends, singing, smiles, and hope. Such a blessing that I will never, ever, forget.
6. New and Old Friends: This year I really focused on surrounding myself with good friendships, those true friends that have your back no matter what. And I am blessed with so many beautiful people. When I was going through rough times, I was incredibly blessed with the amount of prayers, support, hugs, and comfort that I got from so many amazing people. I’m so grateful!
7. Family: I am SO blessed to have such a wonderful family. There’s nothing like the unconditional love of parents and siblings! They’ve been so supportive during my crazy theatre adventures. They’ve been there in good times and bad, this year more than ever. And even though my brother is far away now and I’m home less and less, that has only brought us closer together.
8. Family in Faith: The Butler Catholic Community has been a huge part of my college life and has helped me to grow so much closer to God, especially this year. The friendships I have been blessed with from this community have been some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s such a blessing to have a family on campus of true compassion, support, love, and trust.
9. Theatre Family: Butler’s Theatre program is an insane blessing in my life! The professors and students in the department are AMAZING and such a huge talented, crazy, funny, supportive, inspiring, motivating, compassionate, beautiful family! It is truly preparing me for a career, challenging me, and has blessed me with some amazing friends!
10. Miscellaneous: Butler’s beautiful campus, making the Top 100 Students list, figuring out my Honors Thesis, healing and gaining inner strength, surviving Stagecraft and Costume Design, dumpster couch diving, sunsets, rain, snow, white water rafting, getting cast in Terminal and makeup designing for it, my amazing Directing project cast, singing, learning guitar, dancing, cooking, laughter, joy, love, and all of God’s other beautiful blessings.
I am so grateful for such a fantastic year of growth and renewal! Here’s to an even better 2014 on this crazy, whirlwind journey that we like to call “life”!