A lot of living, hiking, testing new waters, meeting new people, and soul searching happened during the first year in my new home. Some of those stories will be revisited in other posts as they bear significance in other ways as well.This was my journal entry on the anniversary of my arrival in the Flathead and what was to be my new ways of life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
There was no spectacular sunrise for my photo journal this morning; no overwhelming sense that today would be any different from yesterday, and yet I awoke with a spark of something, perhaps a reminiscent twitch of anticipation for the events of this day exactly one year ago. The actual activities of August 14, 2013 were rather commonplace in our shared human story: packing up one’s belongings and striking out for somewhere new. For me however, that day and the ensuing days of settling in were the opening sentence of the first chapter of my new life.
Looking back, it seems like ages ago and yet just yesterday, when I stood still in the soft morning light of an Eastern Montana sunrise and breathed a weary sigh. I surveyed the pared down contents of 42-years of life stuffed into a trailer, the back of my Santa Fe, and Tim’s pickup truck. Saying good-bye seemed surreal; the actions felt imagined, my throat constricted with a twinge of guilt, and my stomach was a flutter with nerves.
As we pulled out of Billings, a heavy silence enveloped me despite my planned departure soundtrack of Neil Diamond tunes keeping my tears at bay. Gone was the chaotic din that was constant in my life for the past month of job leaving, possession packing, possession discarding, panic attacks, and the social commitments that came with saying good-bye.
So, this is it! Here I am world, I thought at the time. I felt emotionally exhausted and amazingly free.
Had my life so far prepared me for that moment of independence? Oh, YES! All at once, I was alone, truly and wonderfully alone for the first time in my life. I at once marveled and trembled at what was transpiring. I was leaving behind a life that was full of responsibility and friends. People of all walks in my community recognized me. I was leaving a well paying but unfulfilling job for what I hoped would be a career that used my talents and challenged me. I was leaving my history behind. Now I was free to be me.
Naturally, I am not the same woman today that I was that mid-August morning one year ago. I realize now that I have a very independent spirit and a heart that longs to be shared. My treks into the mountains seeking ever-higher peaks and grander vistas reflect the journey I am taking personally. After years of living a regimented work-a-day life, I have discovered this crazy, wonderful, selfish desire to play! I panic with realization that time slips away quickly and I wasted a lot of it in the past doing every-day, comfortable, and safe tasks rather than challenging myself, taking a few risks, and having fun. While I refuse to be fenced in as I grow into this new sense of self, I desire boundary lines I can grasp onto from time to time, seeking direction and support.
I am forever thanking God for the friendships that have crossed the miles with me and sustain me, my family who despite missing me prays for my continued happiness here, and for the new family and friendships I have found here through my love, my job, my church, and the risks I am taking in life by putting myself out there. I will admit to times of great loneliness and rejoice in times of such happy belonging that I pinch myself. Life is certainly an interesting rollercoaster ride of emotions! I thank God for every tear and fit of laughter as each enrich my life with colors of the heart and make me feel alive.
The melancholy moments of longing for what was and the joyous highs of the adventure that lies before me can exhaust a person at times and I gather that is why life is revealing itself to me on an as needed basis, a situation that reveals my lack of patience when it comes to my personal soul searching. Nevertheless, each day I awake with renewed vigor in my quest. What a book I will have to write before it all comes to a close (I am obviously extending the publication date by years!)
Thank you Lord sustaining me through this journey, for filling me with the bread of life, and giving me wonderful hope in tomorrow. I cannot wait for the next chapter to begin!