This is the first blog post of a series: How I got here.
I’m sitting in my new corner of the house, a big world map on the wall behind my computer, and a sticky note in front of me that reads, “CREATE SCOUT & FEATHER.” Next to that one, “streams of mercy, never ceasing.” At my feet, my dog sleeps soundly despite the Girl Talk that’s playing out of the speakers. And I just feel like I’m in the middle of a daydream.
When your daydreams start to bleed into your reality, your sleep is interrupted with ideas and you wonder if you can really do this as you send an email about information that you are now being considered expert on. You make late night lists on sticky notes of all the things you don’t want to forget when your alarm goes off at 7am. You want it to begin and slow down all at once.
It’s just the beginning. Three years ago I spent most of six months on the couch, trying to recover from mono so I could get on with my life. I wanted it to fly by and be over with. I grew bitter and thought as long as my health suffered, I couldn’t dream. I mean, what was the point? I was stuck in fear. Paralyzed by it.
It took so long to recover from mono because I got it on a 12-week bike trip across the U.S., and didn’t slow down. So when I returned, I watched my 30 team members tackle life with vigor, making true the dreams they spoke on the trip. Me? I had no vigor in my bones. The fast-beating heart I came home with was fearful of a lot of things.
I visited coffee shops in every city we went to, because I was fascinated with them. I dreamt of opening my own shop, and even writing a book about my experiences on the trip. I tried to continue on that path when I got home, but I lost speed quickly. I had to drop classes, take longer to graduate, find a job so I could pay rent, and my immediate family no longer lived in Sacramento. Those are the things I focused on – the negative.
I didn’t let myself rest in the beauty: I had an amazing roommate, Sarah Marie, who was so supportive and made me laugh a lot. Marcos was right by my side, through good and bad (and let me tell you, I was producing a lot of bad that season). I had a professor who let me do an independent research project so I could get credits but not have to be in class, so I could recover. I took two walks a day with my dog, Radar, who held no grudges and just wanted to be by my side.
And then Marcos asked me to marry him. I look back at that time, and realized I learned so much about true love, God’s love. I was bitter, producing a lot of ugly, and Marcos STILL wanted to marry me. I hardly felt like I was “prepared” to be a wife, to be supportive and loving. Or even prepared for the season of engagement, preparation, and celebration. Marcos asked regardless. He saw the small amount of beauty I was producing and reminded me of the goodness all around us. I learned a lot about God’s grace through that season.
The girl who encouraged Marcos to dream gave up on herself, but God didn’t. And He put people in my life to show me that.
After six months, the mono cleared but other issues arose. The bitterness continued. It wasn’t obvious. Intellectually, I knew truth. I knew that I had hope in bigger things, great things were happening in my life, and I had so many things to be thankful for. I could write it a thousand times in my journal and on post-it notes that I would see as I got ready in the morning. But as the days went by where I felt like my body was operating at 60% on my best days, the things I knew in my mind didn’t make it to my heart. I had so much fear and doubt.
I would have a few great days, and then get really sick.
I would make plans, get excited, and then not be well enough to participate.
I wasn’t realistic about my needs, so I continually put myself in situations where I fell short.
It’s just the beginning, and this is the first post in a series on grace, redemption, and creativity. I am calling it, “How I got here,” because this new adventure might be just beginning, but there’s never really a clear beginning to anything in life. It’s all connected.
I’m glad you’re here with me.