The light bursts golden through the window as the leaves dance and the roses sway and I wonder,

“How many people are missing it? How many are facing their phones instead of their windows? Am I the only one privy to such a view? Such a priceless, glittering gift?" 

I don’t want to miss a second of it.

I don’t want to go another day without breathing deep, basking in light, noticing the beauty that springs up from soil.

"Life is a vapor."

That verse doesn’t mean much to you when you’re eight. Or twelve. Or sixteen. But if you’re contemplative and obsessed with “making it count,” that verse shakes you all up when you’re about to turn twenty-two.

Now, the number sounds so small. But when I was eleven, I hadn’t imagined my life past sixteen. Honestly. I knew there would be education and hopefully cats and a hunky guy who would write me love songs (still waiting on that one), but besides that, it was all blurry. It was “then.” But magically, “then” has become my “now.” It’s illusive, isn’t it?

I sipped my favorite soy iced sugar-free spiced chai yesterday across from my friend, Rachel. Listening to her was like hearing my thoughts through a different window, a different perspective.

“I know it’s going to be okay,” she said. “But what about right now? How do I make sure ‘right now’ isn’t something to get through?”

I thought about it. No words came right away. But it felt like that question has defined my year.

I’d like to reserve the right to change my answer, but here it is:

Live in love, in every possible way. Do what you love. Explore what you love. See people you love. Speak with love. Listen in love. Imagine what you love, pursue what you love.

To live in this way, I hope, is to create a life that you love.

And if you endeavor to love every moment life brings you—to love so well that the nitty-gritty, the ugly, the impossible and the unjust cannot keep you from loving, is to succeed.

To me, that is the victory.

Even now, as I look out my window, the sun has set. It has left behind traces and glimmers. But I saw it. I watched that sun burn in its full glory, full of majesty, bearing the image of the One that put it in the sky for me. I think I made Him happy by noticing. By slowing down to bask in it, then capturing my words on the page to share with you, because that’s what I love. In that moment, we won, me and my Maker. Now, it’s learning to live a life like that.