oh, beginnings: what a beautiful & complicated mess, an incredible & foreign thrill they are. we’re all just a bunch of beginners — beginning again & again & again in a dozen different ways, a dozen times a day, every day. whether it’s a new job or a new friend or a new routine or a new church or a new recipe or a new life route — no matter how small they may be — beginnings are all around us. & they are altogether thrilling & terrifying & electrifying & downright uncomfortable.
three weeks into creating a home in colorado, i find myself tip-toeing into a bunch of beginnings: exploring job opportunities, finding new friends, memorizing main highways, scouting out coffee shops & making positive impressions on new neighbors are just a few of them. & although i’m brewing inside myself a real love for this place, these beginnings haven’t come without mess & error & joy & discomfort & a whole lot of laughter. & i’m holding onto what my sister told me: that if it’s a little bit messy, then you know that you’re doing something right.
here’s a snapshot of my beginnings: eating guac with my nephew before dinner & getting the call that i didn’t get the job & carrying back from the library an armful of books i know will challenge me & crying on a curb while cars passed, staring awkwardly at me & burning grilled cheese that smoked up the kitchen & then laughing with my sister on the couch about how i burnt her grilled cheese, but she ate it anyways & taking long, aimless walks under the clouds & hanging pink streamers up haphazardly on walls & under doorways to welcome home my new niece & then celebrating her birth-day with chocolate milkshakes & white roses.
these beginnings have been wonderful & at times, hard & unexpected, & i’ve found myself having the urge a dozen times a day to apologize to anyone who talks to me about how sorry i am that it’s taking so long for me to grow — to figure all this out — but before i do, i stop & think about how ridiculous it is for me to believe that growth should happen in an instant.
i know God could do away with the mess in my beginnings & in yours if He wanted to, but instead of doing that, i picture Him just smiling at us when we show up at our beginnings with our hard hats & tool belts, ready to work hard & figure it all out, & He, knowing full well the mess we’ll make, spreads a smile wide across His face & says, “i am so, so glad that you’re here.” because He loves that we show up with a willing spirit & He loves that we’re trying new & hard things & even though they can be messy, i think He’s just really glad we’re here because He knows we’ll grow into our beginnings, imperfectly & gloriously.
my parents arrived tonight after driving for days across the country with the rest of my belongings & after we threw what was left of my stuff into my room, my mom & i stared at my disorganized piles & she told me how thrilled she is at this new beginning & i told her that i wanted her strength to step into it & thrive in it & she told me i have it & whether or not that’s true, i desperately want to believe it because beginnings require a whole lot of strength & courage & resilience. & the beautiful thing is, we don’t have to do it alone. not only do we have the King of new beginnings who is intimately involved in each & every one of ours & smiles as He holds us in His gracious hands, but we also have each other. & all we have to do is reach out our hands & ask each other what area of our lives we feel we are beginning & then tell each other that we have the strength & the grace to endure each beginning’s beautiful & complicated mess, its incredible & foreign thrill.
oh, beginnings: what a grace it is to live them.
the sky’s gold peeks through
the company of trees
& the wind gently rushes itself
above everything green
& the haze sheds its depths
over the mountaintops.
the world is awake.
a wave escapes a stranger’s fingertips
from across the lake
& her laugh bounces off
our breakfast plates
& a man in his garden
straightens himself to say “hello”.
the world is awake.
a sunflower dances
under the rush of the wind
& the gardener bends
down on his knees
with a handful of seeds.
the world is awake
to watch us create.
is to know
the world is awake
to watch us create
with the passions
inside our souls.
the world is awake
& so are we.
i just needed some sort of pulsing reminder, some kind of gentle heart-piercing to open my eyes to Here. & the word that kept coming to mind is one that i’ve said to myself a dozen times a day since, some times audibly & other times quietly whispered to my conscience. the word is “once.”
i need the weight of that little word to send shock waves throughout the moments i subconsciously categorize as mundane & ordinary. i need the weight of “once” to create some sort of magic in my motions.
because the truth is, whatever is in front of me & in front of you, really only happens once. sure, there are replications of moments a thousand times over & annual celebrations & familiar gatherings & routine dinner conversations & the same friendships, but even still, each & every one of these are shaped by their own unique nuances & quirks & i think we’ll cheapen our lives if we forget this.
now, i don’t mean for this word to pose any type of threat to make us enjoy our moments, in all their mess & magic. if you know anything about me, you know i’m not interested in fear or guilt tactics that scare me (or you) into loving life, God, or people. all i’m after in my stumble towards living the most abundantly is reaching out & grasping onto anything, be it a word, phrase, or image that refuels my wonder for this beautiful life & incredible world & stunning Creator.
as i reflect on the four letter word & all the directions it sends my mind spinning, i realize i’m both fascinated & frightened by its depth. i tend to put a whole lot of pressure on myself to make sure i’m enjoying whatever’s in front of me & if i’m breathing down my own neck enough, it’ll send me into a panic & frantic search to fix whatever is going on inside of me. repeating the word “once” to myself is not meant to push me over the edge.
instead, “once” is a tender invitation & a gentle reminder that whatever is in front of me will only happen now. & now is all on purpose. it’s really all on purpose. because the One who created Purpose, including my & your unique purpose, is all about writing beautiful stories with all of our "now"s.
living out “once” looks like an embrace of “here,”. it looks like letting your days refine you, letting the Brilliant One make you better. it looks like giving your full attention to the eyes in front of you & getting down on your knees over & over again to play with a child & asking intentional questions & then reminding yourself why it is God gave you two ears & one mouth & taking dozens of deep breaths so you can dish out grace, again & letting the bitterness inside you wither & admiring the strength of the ones you love the most, then telling them about it & always remembering that the soft drum in your chest means a million things, with one of them being this: He’s not finished yet.
& i think what’s most important to remember about “once” is we’ll fail at remembering it’s weight over & over again & we'll flounder through our days in frustration & maybe actually wish some days away in our discontentment. & gosh, we already have. i think that’s what’s most beautiful about a sunrise because it reminds us it’s a new day, with new mercies & that He’s still Here — that He’ll always be Here — with an abundance of radiant grace that He’s waiting to lavish us with whenever we allow ourselves to be fully human.
so, here’s to embracing our moments in whatever form they come & living out “once” & welcoming the grace that’s waiting to cover us when we don’t.
the past few weeks have been made up of me trying to master the art (as if there was such a thing) of closing up a season of life as i brave a new one. after about 21 years of living in the same house with all things familiar — from my nightstand with the flower stickers i decorated it with a decade ago to the wooden bench in the kitchen to dozens of pictures that blanket the fridge — i had to figure out a way to bring closure to a season of life that had been so, so generous to me. i wrestled with striking the balance between wading through nostalgic feelings as i sat on my green carpet & sifted through basically every letter i’ve kept since i was 8 (i have a few hoarder tendencies) & mentally moving on from them after i felt i paid them a courteous mind. i spent the weeks leading up to my move to colorado with learning how to find the appropriate grip on the past & its precious & painful memories without suffocating them but rather, holding them with a loose grip, giving them air to breathe, then letting them fly.
the night before i boarded the plane, i gave my niece a sweatshirt about ten sizes too big for her & sunglasses that she might never wear again other than when she walked out of my bedroom glowing & i kissed my nephew’s cheeks knowing they wouldn’t feel the same a few months from now & i hugged my sister goodbye & memorized her familiar embrace. i locked eyes with my dad’s bright blue ones a tad bit longer than usual & clenched my eyelids when my aunt gave me a third hug goodbye & when i hugged my mom goodnight, she told me it was time to “flap my little wings” as she made the motion with her hands & i let a few more tears run down my cheeks.
little wings. what a beautiful thought.
& with that saying tucked in my back pocket, i boarded the plane, all too giddy for the adventures & lessons & growth to come. & whether we’re moving or not, i’m realizing that we all need little wings for life. i’m convinced they don’t even need to be big ones — little ones will do just fine. we need little wings when we need just a little courage to get a little height out of our comfort zones so we can soar. cheesy, i know. but i think my mom is onto something.
what if with every uncertainty we could grow brave instead of afraid, fueled by ambition instead of anxiety? what if little wings were all we needed to set a goal for today or reach out to a friend we haven’t talked to in years or make an anonymous donation to someone who needs it or invite someone who feels left behind over for a meal or do something — anything — that makes our soul feel alive? what if God looked down from his throne in heaven & saw millions of little wings that finally figured out what it takes to take flight, doing millions of small acts of kindness & becoming more & more like light? what if little wings were all we needed to wildly pursue our passions & create an absurd amount of beautiful things & live a life of ridiculous generosity?
i don’t know much, but i know we were made to move far past what makes us feel comfortable. we were made to flap our little wings, muster up a little bit of courage, gain a little bit of height & soar into the places that make us feel a little bit dangerous & a lot more alive.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.