it's been five years

If you know my story, you know that July 31st is an ebenezer. On this day in 2011, my heart broke at my first real experience of death, tragedy, and grief. It marks the day that Jimmy Brazell, a fellow student leader, lost his life in a water accident before any of us could stop it. I've had a lot to learn over the last five years, a lot to process, a lot to come to grips with, a lot to try to handle, a lot to recover from. Every July 31st is so hard, filled with so many battling emotions. But each July 31st also leaves me amazed by the person that Jimmy was. I followed in his footsteps that led me to Dandelion School. I was overwhelmed by the legacy he had left on the teachers, students, and anyone else around him. Please, watch this beautiful video that the people at Dandelion made for Jimmy when he went back to America in the spring of 2011. I now know and treasure the people in this video, and it's incredible to know that he touched those lives years before I would even arrive. 

I wish I had more words to say right now, but I don't. I don't have any message other than those obvious challenges to live your life fully, love people, and crazy love God. 

It's horrible remembering that night, the helplessness, the shock. But the ever-growing, opposite reaction of goodness, redemption, and beauty overwhelms me. I could not be more grateful for the young man whose life has in so many ways shaped mine. Jimmy, I wish you were still here. I wish I could have done something. But I'm still here. I'll keep loving those beautiful people you loved, especially the ones at a little, run-down, migrant school in the slums of Beijing. And I'll keep pushing into God, knowing that only in Him do we find purpose, comfort, and fulfillment. 

Until I see you again. 


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