It’s been almost 6 months since I said goodbye to my mom at DFW International Airport to catch a flight to London Heathrow to hop on a connecting to Berlin. 6 months ago, I never would have told anyone that I could be the person I am today, and I owe that to CR. CR10 changed me in ways that I never could have imagined. To Dr. P and Lindsey, I am eternally grateful for all the hard work and sacrifices you both made to make CR10 as amazing as it was. Every single person on this experience made an impact on me, and I think that’s the biggest takeaway from all of this: CR, and life in general, is about the people.
The Jacob that boarded that plane 6 months ago is no longer here, and thank goodness. I still show some flashes of the selfishness that consumed me, and I still fight the battle of having a large ego every day of my life. God showed me the ugliest parts of myself on this experience, but even more importantly, He showed me that there was hope, and that nobody is beyond broken and every person can change. I could tell you about how every place we visited had an impact on me and changed me for the better, but that simply would not be the whole story. The places themselves do not make the places, the people make the places. Without people, the places would be an empty shell of the brilliance – or the misguidedness – of the people. I could have visited Berlin, Munich, Interlaken, Riomaggiore, Florence, and Rome by myself, but I guarantee you I would still be the same jerk that boarded that flight in May if I had. Without the people of CR, I would not have known the love that I know now.
The people of CR showed me a new kind of love. A love that I know I hadn’t experienced before. I used to think that love was something that had a limit; love was something that I had to constrain to specific people instead of something that is freely given to everyone at all times. The people of CR changed that. I saw God move through people in the most special ways, highlighting their strengths and allowing them to do some amazing things in love. I also saw God break people – myself included – and highlight their biggest weaknesses, which only in retrospect I realize how special it is to see people at their weakest. It is only at our weakest that we see how strong God is, because our greatest weaknesses are His greatest strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). Seeing God work in people at their weakest, and seeing them rise above it and grow because of it, is truly a joy and a blessing. I love every single one of the CRecade because we grew in the same way, allowing ourselves to be broken and built up, but helping each other in every step of the process by loving each other recklessly. I saw a new kind of resilience in this group that I carry with me every day as I strive to be the best I can be and grow into the man I am called to be. The unconditional, unwavering, all-pursuing love that each one of these people showed me broke so many barriers inside my heart and remade me into a better version of myself.
When I think back on this summer of growth, I look at these 3.5 weeks spent in Europe. My heart sinks knowing I can never go back, and that my time on CR10 is over. But there is always hope. Today most of met up to work on our Pecha Kucha presentations. While I sat there for 3 hours and struggled as to how this short 20-slide presentation could contain how amazing CR was, I realized something. My time on CR10 is over. The time was finite and will be forever etched into history as the most amazing 3.5 weeks of my life. My time with CR10 began on May 15, 2018 and continues today. The experience I have with these people – the most brilliant group of 18 people – will forever endure. My time with CR10 will never end, because no matter where we are – Germany, Texas, Canada, Australia, or the freaking moon – we are CR10, and the love I feel for these people will not be constrained by time or geography. No matter where we are or what we are doing, when we’re together, it’s a life-changing experience.
Abby, Audrey, Brittany, Brooke, Emma, Indigo, Jake, Kyle, Lauren, Marat, Nishu, Olivia, Olivia, Ryal, Taylor, Lindsey, and Dr. P: Thank you for being you. You changed me. You made me a better person than I ever could have hoped to be, and I hope you all know how special you are to me. I love each of you so much. CR10 Forever.
– Triple J