Since coming home to care for the kids, letting go of my job as a teacher, I’ve fumbled in answering that question of how long I plan to stay. “Hmm. I don’t know.” I’ve said those gray words so many times. No great crafted answer. Just a vague, unfinished statement.
And I hadn’t known for a while for all kinds of reasons. I’m supporting Paul in what he does and he’s supporting me. It’s romantic and difficult and good. I’m loving homeschool and getting good (better) at being a homemaker which I find surprisingly fulfilling. And then there's the time with my kids--that thing that I just can't quit no matter the strewn toys and long days.
Stepping away from teaching was exhilarating but scary. My feet ached for firm ground and yet I wanted even more to stay put & make something of something new. It was the most daring ordinary thing I will ever do.
I know a bit more of my plan now because I’ve gone ahead and made a path. But there is always openness to what we do not know and what we can not predict. Hearts change. Careers change. Families change. Some of these changes we feel slowly, some click as quiet as a switch inside our soul, and others tumble on top of us and turn us inside out in no time, no warning: “Up ahead. Total life reboot.”
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I had thought that this vulnerability in uncertainty walked with me because I quit my job, but I learned this year that this particular vulnerability harbors no prejudice. Uncertainty walks with all of us. It wasn’t a symptom of not having a paycheck. It is a symptom of being human.
Throughout this year, women have come over to talk, coffee mug in hand and maybe kids playing at our feet. Old friends. Family members. Friends I’m close with now and who visit often. I’ve listened to stories of things I missed before or things that are so new they’re raw and far from finished. I’ve listened to the hearts of women and I’ve seen how not alone I am.
From afar, these women upheld lives that looked like perfect plans unfurled. Or if not that, at least tidy, under control, secure. I had made assumptions. I had compared their front stage performance to my back stage scrambling. I had mostly gotten it all wrong.
|I hurt all over just looking at this photo.|
I’ve seen the truth of life laughing at our plans and not just mine. I’ve seen the truth of my friends living outside of certainty and yet walking forward because life didn’t stop to fix up things and throw a rope when it was needed. These women. Their lives. So many things shattered, mended and hurting, so many things you couldn’t know from Facebook and Instagram, so many things outside of their plans that shaped their stories [and shape their stories] and have bloomed on their gorgeous faces because their faith and character pulled them through but not perfection. Not anything near perfection. So many things that they still just don’t know.
All of us. We’re doing what we can with what we have. Obstacles ignite our creativity and stump us too. No guide to tell us why the bleeping hill just doesn’t end or how many miles more to the water. We walk with confidence, with the things we know to be good. We have joy in making plans for being our best selves. But we have blank spaces too that we don’t yet have answers for. Hearts spilling over with silent grief. Cracked hands from tough work. A turning over in our minds of things we wish we could control but can’t.
Do you have plans? Yes?! Me too! So many plans.
But do you also feel wonderment and gratitude for the things beyond the plans?
Adventures you can not see.
Splashes of color where you have pulled out a fresh, blank canvas.
Inevitable turns up ahead that will have you doing things you don’t want but need, can’t know how but want, and won’t plan but is an unfinished part of you already just waiting for completion.
Plans are very, very good. But the things outside our plans, maybe even especially that which mystifies or frustrates or grieves or tires or stretches or pulls us to our knees in humility because the freaking roof blew off our box…
These are good because this is what has us grow the most. We become something we weren’t before. We become something that even our most perfectly perfect of beautiful plans can’t hold a match to because those plans were of the stuff inside us and this is of the stuff beyond.
Where you find discomfort. Where you find blank space. Where you find vulnerability in uncertainty.
Go there. I will meet you there & walk right along with you. I’ll laugh with you or cry with you or just get quiet with you. Whatever you need, friend, but I’ll meet you there.