I’ve been meaning to write this particular blog for many days now. Dot. Dot. Dot. But it’s really no wonder that little, old, procrastinating me has gotten around to it just now. Sigh. Nevertheless, all that truly matters is that I’m finally here. Never mind the fact that I spent over 35 minutes trying to remember what my login and password were for my blog! Hardy har har :p It’s funny how many things you forget when you’re gone for 18 months.
Anyway, back to what I actually want to write about.
I wrote out a mental rough draft of this entry on the 17th of April, the day before my 26th Birthday. I was SMS-ing with my oldest friend, Rosie Posie, and as I thought about her, I wondered, when was the last time Rosie and I celebrated my birthday together? As I quickly flipped through past Birthdays, I realized that the last time Rosie was physically present on my birthday was April 18, 2005. Eight years ago. Eight whole years. Wow.
Let me tell you a little about my 18th Birthday.
Normally, 18th birthdays tend to be a sort of milestone for people, right? They are anxiously anticipated and happily welcomed with a big Hoorah! Not the case for me. I distinctly remember my 18th birthday as something I had been dreading for months. I certainly didn’t view it as a milestone, I saw it as a big, fat reminder that time was ticking, I was growing up and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
Turning 18 meant being an adult, being responsible for your decisions and most importantly, deciding where you wanted to take your life. Turning 18, to me, was the equivalent of being handed me the helm of my ship when all I could think was, I am SO not ready for this! I have no idea where to navigate this to!
From where I stood, all I could see was that everyone around me seemed to be heading down a sure path. My friends all seemed to know what their next step would be. They all had plans they were executing. Their futures seemed concrete. And deep down inside I think I envied them. I wanted the security that came from knowing what was around the next bend because I felt like I was walking blind. I had recently watched my best laid out plans slowly fall apart and as I stared out into my future all I could see was a void of structure and an overstock of uncertainty.
I remember coming home from school and crying myself to sleep. When I woke up Rosie was in my living room, there was a big cake on the dining table and she was signing something about a happy birthday… in spanish or english, I can’t remember.
I often hear that life is just one big circle. We have up’s, we have down’s and history has a way of repeating itself. I feel there must be some truth to that because as I talked with Rosie I though about how many similarities there were between this birthday and the one I’d had eight years ago.
The rest of the world still seems to have life figured out.
I’m still trying to figure out where my life is heading.
The future is still uncertain.
Times are still hard.
My circumstances are still trying my faith.
My best laid out plans are still falling apart.
and there are still nights when I cry myself to sleep.
But that’s not all. What I didn’t know the day I turned 18 is that in reality, everything I feared would turn out okay! Actually, better than Okay! The future I was staring into was, in reality, not void of anything. The future that awaited me was awe-inspiring. I just didn’t know it at that point.
I would go on to experience a wonderful gap year in Mexico. I would meet people that would forever change my life. I would love more than I’d ever loved before. I would be loved. I would fall in love for the first time. I would travel the world. I would end up studying in a little university town half a world away. I would learn another language. I would fall in love with another culture, people and country. I would meet soul mates in disguise as best friends. I would experience heartache and trials and difficulties but I would get over them! I would learn to love children and family and home. I would hear God’s voice calling me to serve him. I would embark on a 18 month long mission in England. I would learn to love imperfections. I would breathe deeply. I would be joyous. And I would begin to find out who I really am, and who I want to be.
So this year, as I stared out into the vast unknown that continues to be my life, I did not fear because I now know He has plans for me better than I have for myself. I know all will be well. I have learned to not fear the helm because there is no need to! In reality, I’m not called to steer on my own and better yet, I’m not the captain of my soul, He is. Through trial and error… lots of error, I’ve realized that so long as I have ears to hear, He will lead me where I need to go. And last, but certainly not least, I think (I sometimes still forget!) I finally get that I don’t need to know what’s around every bend because this knowledge does not, in fact, give real security. Rather, knowing that wherever you go, He will be by your side, is what does.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
– M. Louise Haskins