“She was fiercely independent. Brilliant, and beautiful, and brave. In [four] years she had grown more than anyone I had ever known. [Amy Kobelt] is going to change the world someday. And I’m not sure she even knows it.” – OTH
How is someone supposed to put into words how impactful certain people are in our lives? How do we thank them for walking alongside us faithfully through every season? How do we let them know that the world is different and that the world is better because of who they are?
I am currently in a season of transition. In eleven short days I graduate from university. I finish school and with that I finish this chapter of my life. This chapter of being a student, the only chapter that I have really ever known. These past few weeks have been full of reflection as I embark on a series of “lasts” in this part of my life. My last dance party with this group of people in this place, my last class at TWU, my last all-nighter scrambling to finish a paper I forgot about, my last praise chapel. Thinking back to the last time I experienced a transition like this, it was leaving high school. Flipping through my old high school yearbooks the other day, I couldn’t help but think about how differently I thought four years ago. I saw the world with fresh, sometimes naive, excited seventeen year old eyes. I was always happy, always full, and always hopeful. Four years have changed me. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve become slightly cynical.
“But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, for that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.” – Shauna Niequist
Each of my years at Trinity has been transformative in different and yet equally important ways. These past four years taught me how to be brave. They taught me that life is really, really hard and that there is a whole lot of pain and ugly in this world. Some days, they made me want to give up. To call it quits, to crawl into bed, and to never get up. There have been seasons of heartbreak… days when I would cry long and hard. But oh, there have been days of joy and celebration that outweigh the pain a million to one. In the midst of stress and figuring this thing called life out, there have been countless deep belly laughs and heart-to-hearts and complete acceptance. There has been grace on grace on grace, digging deeper then I ever knew possible, countless stories and really feeling feelings. Hard things and holy things. “Further up and further in.” I’ve realized now that I am not cynical, I have merely found depth. As wonderful as it was, high school was superficial. I didn’t know that there was more to me, more to life. I’m not who I was and I have been stretched and am continually being stretched and it is good.
When I met Amy Kobelt in the tenth grade, I didn’t think twice. She was nice, but we had different friends and different ideas of fun. We were both young in our own ways. I remember when graduating high school I made a mental list of the people I definitely knew I wanted to intentionally keep in touch with. Amy was not on that list. The funny thing is, life doesn’t always follow our seventeen year old plans. And my goodness am I ever glad about that. Reconnecting pretty quickly in first year, Amy and I began to walk through these years together. It started young – boy talk, classes, and the occasional study sesh. And then somehow, through the ordinary every day moments and conversations, our hearts began to change and mature and grow. Together we walked through heartache and through moments of triumph. And as the days ticked by, Amy grew and changed and let life mold her. She found herself in fields of courage and grace. And in the process she taught me to not minimize my feelings and to not let bitterness take root in my heart – lessons that I will never be able to repay her for. She is brave in her sadness and kind in her joy.
Amy, when you doubt yourself remember that you are going to change the world. You’ve already changed the world around you. This year we discovered new depths to the words vulnerability and hope and courage. Together, we recognized our worth and our potential. You really, truly are brilliant and beautiful and brave. I will always be your number one fan, cheering you on as you tackle all of your dreams. Thank you for being the shakira to my felicia, for countless study dates and quiet conversations and hilarious jokes. My gosh, it has been the honour of my life walking and growing alongside of you these past four years. The best is yet to come.