"Today I am a woman torn between the terror that everything might change and the equal terror that everything might carry on exactly the same for the rest of my days. Some people say that, as summer approaches, we start to have weird ideas; we feel smaller because we spend more time out in the open air, and that makes us aware of how large the world is. The horizon seems farther away, beyond the clouds and the walls of our house."
- Paulo Coelho, Adultery
While I would never choose to have Paulo Coelho write my life story - beautifully eloquent and captivating as his tales may be - some days I find myself caught in his words and seeing my world through the lens of his narration. Scratch that - some seasons, not just some days. This is one of them.
I haven't written in a long time, but today, as I sit on my balcony, as the sun sets and the wind caresses my curls into an exotic fuzz, I'm reminded of how small I am and how large this world is, and how much there is yet for me to do.
Just over a year ago I had packed my trusty Camry with two sets of siblings and driven from Toronto to Los Angeles and back again. That same summer I drove down to Chicago and explored the streets of Montreal - twice! A few months later, I was approached at a restaurant, given a business card, and offered my first 'career-related' job. I established an 8-4 routine, regularly went to the gym, and dove headfirst with cold feet into friendships that would simultaneously become my worst nightmare and an answered prayer.
But, I guess I got too comfortable. If there's one thing I've learned about routine it's that, once you establish one, it gets broken. Mine got drop-kicked.
I wrapped up 2014 by picking up my life and moving to California for three months. From there I flew to Seattle and drove to British Columbia. I saw sights and places and spaces that no camera could do justice (which is my only comfort given that I forgot my camera at my doorstep as I left to the airport for what is, so far, my longest trip away from home). A few months later I wandered the streets of Queens, took in the grandness of New York City, and hiked The Narrows of Utah. My adventures had me on top of the world and dancing on a rooftop with a view of the NYC skyline.
Inside every wanderer is a soul craving to find itself.
I've heard it said lately that God finds you when you're far away from home. He seeks people out in their moments of identity crisis and introspective conflict. And just when we begin to feel comfortable and independent (read: complacent and self-reliant) He tends to drop-kick our lives. But I can't blame Him. We were created for far greater things than complacency.
As I approach my 25th birthday I find myself between seasons. The past season of my life has been incredible, but it seems to be complete. There's wisdom in acknowledging the completion of a season - with its sweet memories and painful downfalls - and knowing when to allow a new season to begin.
As this season wraps up, I can say that I've learned...
1. God sometimes moves us away from people and places and things dear to us because, despite those things being good in our lives, they preoccupy us from connecting with him. Most people lead busy lives; the difference is between those who are busy for busy's sake and those whose lives are full and thriving. Regardless, we wear so many hats and commit to so many things that we find ourselves too busy and comfortable and complacent to seek God. It's in the middle of a desperate nowhere that he seeks us out because, away from all our distractions, we are reminded of how much we desire to seek him, too.
2. Cheesy cliches can be born of a person's profound experience and reduced to a 'Pin' or 'Tweet' button. "Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone" is a caption to one of my Instagram photos. It's also a cheesy cliche. But, after an exhilarating hike and the triumph of climbing up a cliff after nearing desperation, I can attest that you truly begin to feel alive once you push past your comfort zone. Cheesy cliches hold true once you've gained the life experience that proves them to you, but that's still no excuse to use cheesy cliches.
3. Home is a feeling, not a place. Our souls are constantly searching for a sense of home, and, if we search for it, we find a little bit of home everywhere we go. Home isn't the comfortable and the cozy and the familiar. Home is finding the comfortable and the cozy and the familiar amid the turbulent and the scary and the unknown.
I'm beginning a new season and it's exhilarating and terrifying. This season begins with making life changes; it begins with the launch of my website and freelance business; it begins with a humble brokenness and an excitement for what's to come.
Change is scary. New seasons are exciting. God is good.
What's the scariest thing you've ever decided to do, and what made you decide to go ahead and do it?