Thursday, April 23, 2015
I spent two summers in the Redwood forest. Then there was that year where dolphins and bald eagles were a daily occurrence. There was the pristine air of Northern Montana that tingled my nose with pine and woodsmoke. Then there was Southeast Asia, sticky sweet with an abundance of mangoes and melons just as sweet.
Most recently I got the chance to live in a tiny town on the Oregon Coast. At high tide, I could hear the waves crashing right outside my window. The steady push and pull lulled me to sleep every night for several months.
Circumstances have brought me back to the high desert of Idaho. If you were to just drive down the center of this city, it's really difficult to find the beauty. But I've lived here off and on in different seasons and there is a desolate, starkness that is enchanting about this place.
I've always been someone that appreciates the aesthetics of a place. Beauty in nature inspires me and calms me. But place is so much more than natural beauty.
Place is about the community of people and friendships that you gain...the give and take of vulnerability.
I've lived a lot of places in the last several years, and often my heart aches for a particular place. It used to be England. I fought to get back there and walk the cobblestone streets and read in the Starbucks that was housed in a 500 year old building. Thankfully, that desperation to return to England has subsided and I've been able to store those memories in a file of my mind that doesn't cause so much pain.
I know God has directed my journey so far. Yes, it may not be linear and I know a lot of people are curious of why I can't stay in one place for very long.
But each place holds a space in my heart, and there is a certain sense of grief associated with each move.
There is also regret. Regret about not appreciating the beauty that each place held. Regret about not investing enough in the community. Regret about not relishing in the quiet moments.
But what if I could remember without regret? Each place I've lived taught me more about God and the universe and myself. What if I just left it at that instead and let go of the berating for not staying long enough. What if this letting go led to a freedom to live fully where I am in this moment?
I want to live right now with wonder and intention at the seemingly mundane around me. Right now there is everyday grace sprinkled right in front of me.
Friday, April 17, 2015
I often struggle with purpose.
The question of who am I crosses my mind frequently. People tell me that everyone my age passionately processes this question. This stage in life is marked with this question, but I still get frustrated. Maybe I've been running into this brick wall because I thought I had my dream life all figured out.
When I was younger I thought I knew exactly what my life was going to look like. I was going to go to a prestigious university and become a doctor and help save the world. I was going to travel to exotic places and see all the wonders of the planet. Obviously I would get married and have kids and balance everything perfectly.
Those big dreams kept the fight in my heart. Those big dreams pushed me to survive. My rich fantasy life distracted me from the pain that was very real in my heart. The hope of a future kept me afloat in a sea of unpredictability.
My fantasy life hasn't come to fruition, and I'm okay with that, but sometimes I feel as if I am tumbling headfirst into a rabbit hole. During the last several years I have developed this severe, ironclad construct in my mind that doesn't allow for any flexibility. There is this cage of unrealistic expectations and judgments that keeps me trapped.
The battle to know who I am and where I fit in the world pulls my heart and my head in this constant tension. It's a fight and it is exhausting. I've been trapped in this struggle for so long, and I've developed some bad habits. I berate myself for making mistakes and am self-critical which just gets me more tangled up in the trap.
The only way to become free from this trap of unrealistic expectations is stillness. I have the choice every hour to keep scrambling for answers or breathe deeply and rest in the Truth that resides deep within my heart. I've developed the habit of scrambling feverishly and fighting the gifts I've been given.
I have the choice to cower in shame and regret or to stand up and walk into the freedom of new beginnings. I can remain in the trap of constantly asking "who am I?" and keep a tight fist on the childhood fantasies I painted for myself.
I don't want my broken dreams to define me, just as much as I don't want my anxiety about the future to hold me back. I trust that when I am still and keep my hands open that purpose that I desperately seek will become clearer.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
My friend is awesome at making mix CDs for our car rides up and down the coast. One of my new favorite songs is this one by NeedtoBreathe. I've been listening to it on repeat ever since I heard it first. I love the words and the calming effect of the music.
I hope it inspires you.