Justin had been visiting me here, in Texas, for about a week when the idea of me returning with him was brought up. My immediate, knee-jerk response was, “Nope.” Not gonna happen. Can’t do it, no-go, absolutely no way.
Then, over the span of about an hour’s consideration, it became, “well, maybe…”
And then, the next day, “Okay. Let’s do it.”
Initially, my feet-dragging was because my previous five years spent in Alaska hadn’t been the best years of my life. Not all of them were bad — 2008 and 2009 were fantastic. But the latter years of 2010-2012 were just painful. I went through a long, drawn-out and painful breakup, which lasted for a year after the two years of semi-miserable dating. I also underwent some awful Seasonal Affective Disorder, which was mis-diagnosed as bi-polar at the time, and I was put on medication. I felt terrible all the time, didn’t get enough exercise, struggled to maintain average social ties, and over all, wound up being a complete cave troll, complete with the bad temperament. When I left Alaska, I had resigned myself to the thought that I was just not a good person. I had drug myself and my friends and my family through the mud of my mal-content and had finally woken up to the idea that I needed to just move on. Instead of trying to fix all these relationships and failing time and time again and repeating my own mistakes over and over, I left. I got a Summer job in Wyoming, of all places, and spent five months in near-solitude. There was an elderly man, the grandfather of one of the girls I worked beside, who had been employed by the ranch where we all worked, and I got to spend a lot of time with him. If we’re being honest, him and only a couple of the other employees were the only people I felt a true connection to. I called him Grandpa. We would sit out by the bubbling river on these huge wooden swings and talk about life together. One thing that he said will always stick with me:
Find a place to kneel.
When I got home later that year, I wrote it out creatively on a framed chalk board and hung it on my wall. I told Grandpa my woes of mistakes and who I was afraid I had become. He wisely smiled and in his quiet, unassuming way, said something to the means of, “you’re holding on too tightly to who YOU want to be, and not who HE wants you to be.” He gave me an analogy of my life being like clay in my own hands. When squeezed too tightly on the wheel, it flies out of control and lands on the ground. When you try to pick it up and reattach it and remold it, it merely flops around on the wheel and becomes completely unmanageable. But when you touch it lightly, here and there, standing back to see how it’s coming along, and taking instruction from your teacher, it gradually falls into shape.
Who we choose to become is defined by how much control we give the Father. And I gave Him little to no control over those five years of my life in Alaska. I made so many mistakes that I feel embarrassed to return. However, I know that this is a necessary step in mine and Justin’s relationship, and that our relationship tops everything else in our lives right now except our walk with God.
After five months spent with Grandpa and the constant companionship of Jesus, I felt refreshed and renewed. Something in me changed. I’m quieter, less social, but more friendly than I was. I’m slower to anger and quicker to forgiveness. That is not to say that I’m a good person or that I particularly like who I am, but by the grace of God, I’m getting there. Slowly but surely. And it’s all because I’m TRYING to let go, and let Him. The art of letting go is a powerful one. I’m a living testament. 
Now, Justin is returning to Alaska with me in tow, and I’m excited. We’ve been growing separately, spiritually and emotionally, for eight months, and now I think it’s time we grew together. Sometimes I complain about returning to cold and dark, but I know that any time spent with my future earthly everything will be worth whatever else I have to endure. Cold, dark, snowy nastiness? Come at me, bro.
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