I have learned a lot about myself these last few months. Some have been great discoveries, and some were down right hard to swallow. But here are a small handful of the great things I have learned from this recent adventure:
1. True friends are the greatest thing in life. The ones that cry with you through the hard times and do the “boo ya!” dance with you during the great times. The ones that push you through the confusing times of life instead of cut you down in their own confusion. The friends that, by their mere presence, remind you who you are at your core when you have, quite frankly, gotten so wrapped up in your current circumstances that you have temporarily forgotten. These last few months have taught me how valuable and irreplaceable a genuine friend is, and I am incredibly thankful for the handful that have been more encouragement to me than I could ever have guessed/ hoped for.
2. Traveling is a catch 22. It can soothe your soul, or let you run away from it. I have traveled more in the last year than I have in my entire life. The experiences that I have gained from these trips and adventures have changed the way I see the world and myself in it. But it also provides a way to escape from reality when sometimes you just need to face it. I am the poster child for keeping myself busy to avoid the quiet times where I realize everything is out of control. When it came to a weekend of hiking or a mental freak out in the middle of my living room about the future… it was no-brainer. But at one point during these last few months, I had to make myself stop. I had to tie myself to my home, all alone (clint was gone traveling for work), for 2 weeks straight. I had to journal it all out, pray, cry, let go of poisonous relationships, cry again about the loss of my poisonous relationships, pray some more, and watch an entire season of Ugly Betty (don’t judge what my desperate mind will reach for.) I read a lot… and I practically bought stock in Starbucks by the amount of coffee I consumed while mulling over Jen Hatmaker’s every word in her book “7” (which is now highlighted, circled, and dog eared to the point of oblivion.) At first it was miserable. I was on house arrest to my body and my mind… and that was a scary place. I didn’t want to even recognize within myself that I needed to face the things I was struggling with. Moving to a new city, being away from all my friends, being in a house alone half the year without my husband, trying to keep a long distance job I love, and my inability to open up to anyone I loved about any of it: I had things to work out. And it was ugly. But I came out of those weeks refreshed and in tune with what I needed. I came out with a new sense that God knew what he was doing through all these trials (can you IMAGINE if I had moved straight from my comfortable social world of Dallas to Houston without the buffer of Austin to teach me how to live on my own and adapt to whatever life throws at me? I would have drowned. Thank you God for giving me only what I can handle. Thank. You.). I came out eating a piece of humble pie, understanding that I didn’t need to put on a brave face all the time (forget me ever writing this post before that lock down), and that I needed to be transparent enough for people to be able to come into my life the way I desperately wanted them to (but was too proud to admit). Curse you 7 deadly sins! And ya, it’s not some revolutionary idea to self reflect, but in all the huge changes in my life (getting married, moving 3 times in a little over a year, going to 3 different schools.. to name a few), the thing I was most scared to do was actually stop and face my own feelings about it all. I guess I was scared that if I stopped, everything I had worked so hard to keep together would suddenly fall apart in front of me, as if the mere idea of life is what held it together and that poking around too much would make one of the Jenga blocks fall out. Instead, I have such a humbled appreciation for the grace of God and His ability to bring you hope in whatever season of trials you are in. I am blessed beyond measure (I’m sitting here contemplating how I can even give that sentence justice.). It is easy to get caught in the negative, but learning how to self reflect and see change as an opportunity to grow has been a wonderful lesson to learn.
3. Cooking is a great antidepressant. Okay. We all like to eat. So duh, having good food around will make you happy. But there is something about preparing food that has been very soothing to me. Cutting up all those colorful veggies, disregarding exact measurements and tasting your way through, and taking that first bite of a finished meal where, to your satisfaction, it’s actually edible (!) can be as therapeutic as making art. Ohhh ya… and then having a man to tell you how amazing you are for making it always helps too.
Even as I write this all down, I realize how beneficial these hard times have been for me.
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
― Robert Frost
And it does.