“Job found contentment and even joy, outside the context of comfort, health or stability. He understood the story was not about him, and he cared more about the story then he did about himself.” -Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
Up until about 15 days ago, I spent 2015 in transition, en route, and ultimately in a lot of uncertainty in regards to what the future would hold. While I definitely have a strong case of wanderlust, I also have a strong desire for “home.”
Months were spent in an odd limbo of sorts…dying to myself and my old ways…redefining many areas of my life. Many times, I found my heart aching for home. But the odd part was that I didn’t fully know what that meant. I felt homesick for something I feared I may never know or have again. It’s strange to be homesick without fully knowing what it is you’re missing.
My dad has always called me his bohemian, which I believe is quite fitting (the definition itself: a person who has informal and unconventional social habits, especially an artist or writer). God has certainly trusted me with an adventurous life, and while I enjoy the experiences it brings, living a good story can be challenging at times. This year has taught me, though, that we need to be completely out of control and out of our comfort zones to fully embrace a meaningful life. When all the ordinary comforts are stripped away, we will have to look in the mirror and see who/what is left standing. There’s our truth. There’s our strength.
Robert McKee says humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an inciting incident that disrupts their comfort, they won’t enter into a story. They have to get fired from their job or be forced to sign up for a marathon. A home has to be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen.
My purpose came from learning to let go. Losing. Grieving. And realizing that my story was actually better if filled with imperfect, adventurous authenticity. And while taking the reigns of my life has been a beautiful journey, it is also a time of mourning old versions of myself. When you live numerous stories in which you play a sedentary role, it’s an odd feeling to switch stories, to finally be the leading lady in your own life.
All of that being said, the gypsy soul will still crave home. My nomadic ways are part of me. And I’ve learned that the times I persevered and worked harder to make the day stand out, my story demanded that I change, and so I did. For the better…always for the better.
My good friend Nancy refers to her life as a hurricane…often out of control and unexpected. I can definitely relate to that, and often wonder if/when the storm(s) will cease. The answer is yes and no. The answer is…there is a season for everything.
When I entered my home 15 days ago after months of wondering and wandering, I cried as I opened up the closet and began to hangup my clothing that had been stored away in my car. What a gift…hangers.
To hang up clothing in a closet.
To hang photos on a wall.
To hang new memories in my heart, mind, and soul.
I am grateful today for hangers. For home. For the small moments of security in the midst of life’s hurricanes. But beyond all of that, I am grateful for the joy I found while standing in the middle of the storm. Like Job, I am grateful for the difficulties that this year brought…the things I endured…the ways God challenged me to persevere. I found joy even when I wasn’t comfortable. I kept going even when my body wasn’t healthy. I remained true to myself even when I didn’t have an ounce of stability. Without comfort and normalcy, I chose joy. This hasn’t been a perfect journey, and my story has come with many flaws and fallible moments. But it is mine. And I will continue to grow it into a really, really good one. The best story.
As Nancy said, perhaps life will always be a hurricane. But I am grateful for this wild adventure and the simple joys along the way, even as small as a hanger for my favorite flannel. Some seasons will have hangers. Some won’t. Some will have a tangible home. Some will be without. But I will write a good story through every season. I must.