I know that Christmas in July has passed. But this morning as I sat in my bed and watched the sun rise, I remembered that cuddly feeling I sometimes got—the wild anticipation of the first day of school, the surreal moment when you experience déjà vu, the utter joy that filled every fiber of my being when my Uncle Bob was coming to visit—on Christmas morning. As I sat cuddled up in my bed, hugging my pillow, I smiled at the sunrise and though about drinking hot chocolate—the rich kind made with milk with whipped cream on top and extra chocolate chips. And I let myself daydream about C. S. Lewis during World War II, delivering heroic and inspiring speeches about mere Christianity, speeches he probably didn’t think would be changing my life on this humid August morning in 2015.
There’s something about the fearlessness of a child—not being afraid to give love and receive it. Not being afraid of failure. Not understanding the weight of responsibility. Not grasping the concept of past or future. In a word, free, but unaware of that freedom and, therefore, unable to appreciate it. And then one day you’re twenty-three years old, independent, unattached, going to school again (but not simply to learn a subject matter—to learn how to think and discern), making personal decisions and living with their consequences, juggling work with friends, disciplining finances with dreams, and choosing confidently while leaving room for apology. And inevitably, you mess up. You choose to remain distant from the people you see all the time. You open up to people far away who will never truly care about you and, therefore, supposedly can’t hurt you. You voluntarily place yourself in situations of critique, yet get angry when people judge you. You make a promise without thinking of the consequences and then have to choose integrity and misery or manipulation and ease. You decide to skip supper and work late in order to receive a quiet evening alone, or you decide to skip working out in order to eat a Sonic milkshake with friends. You buy a wig to cover up your bald spots even though within two weeks you will be living hand-to-mouth, and a good wig costs $500. You choose to buy a fake nose ring, knowing that your friends will ask you if you’ve lost your mind. You make these mistakes because you are an adult. You aren’t ready, but you pretend you are because you have no choice.
I sit in my bed, contemplating this nebulous fog in my brain, increasingly aware that I need to get up and start getting ready. I slowly crawl out of the safety of my bed and look in the mirror. I try to decide if I want to try Turkish coffee today or if I want to stick with Austria. Judging the puffiness of my eyes, I decide to stick with Vienna coffee—a double shot of espresso with whipped cream. I look outside once again at the clear blue sky and smile. I am reminded that each sunrise begins a fresh new day—a day without mistakes. And I am refreshed that when all my mistakes, all my accomplishments, all of me . . . is stripped away, what is left is a mere Christian, bought with Christ’s blood.