Palms up, and closed eyes I laid on my bed attempting to void myself of feeling. The past year weighed on my heart as a burden I could not shake, a plague. My chest was in a perpetual state of pain as my heart raged against my circumstances. The loss of my grandparents and my dysfunctional grieving, the anticipating of indefinite long distance from my man, the loss of all I love in Kodiak, Alaska weighed heavily on me as I continued to starve these emotions by feeding my “Say Yes Disorder”, refusing to stop and doing way too much too much of the time. Lying here with boxes strewn across the room surrounding me with simple labels of “home”, “Chicago”, “fishing”, and finally my backpack loaded with what would be my turtle shell for the next month backpacking, I felt the categories continue to define me. I had just delivered a speech on a stage I have spent many long rehearsal hours on, a plethora of costumes and assumed identities and had come to define as a part of my home. This costume was unique in how it was a royal blue robe with matching cap. I talked about how I didn’t want the parents and friends and family backing the students on stage to see us as just numbers. I was tired of being categorized and systematically viewed for value by colleges. These peers are going to be the future.
Yet here I am again, categorizing.
In addition to categorizing there come countdowns. I have felt the weight of countdowns for many years, anticipating mission trips, anticipating planes leaving or coming, anticipating reunions or goodbyes, my life felt like a careful orchestration of categories and countdowns and coffee. Tears ran silently down my face as I laid here desiring the change yet fearing it whole heartedly. My mom came in and as a true momma’s girl, that’s really what I needed. She pulled out Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, truly Dr. Seuss’ most profound work, and started to read. Having my mom as an advisor for the past four years of high school she read this children’s book to us the first and last day of class for each school year. I was raised with wind in my hair, determination in my hands, passion on my heart, and a believe that you can do hard things. But I haven’t seen that Sara in a long while. I grieved for her.
Here I am a year and a half later. It has been a whirlwind and the growing pains have thankfully been plenty and frequent. Since graduation and that tearful encourage fest in my room that day, I have been stretched in ways I never would have dreamed.
I hiked across a country with my mom.
I commercial fished with my man for three weeks.
I moved to the Windy City for school.
I changed my major to Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation.
I juggled two part time jobs and school and activities. *Note to future self: learn to juggle
My man went to Boot Camp and was gone for 15 weeks.
I went to Thailand by myself for a vision trip into the field I want to work in.
My man graduated and I was able to attend the graduation.
I worked my first full-time job.
My man and I got engaged.
I studied abroad in Greece and dabbled in touring Turkey and Italy as well.
And that gets us to about here. It’s been an exciting time, a joyful time, but also a time of tears, uncertainty, fear, and crying out to Papa God in honest confusion and perceived abandonment. Throughout this season, all 540 days since my sense of place and constants were stripped of me, I have had a revelation that goes back to the wisdom of Dr. Seuss.
Oh, the waiting place. In Oh, the Places You’ll Go! he described the dreaded and feared waiting place and encourages the reader to have no worry because they’ll get through it.
I live in the waiting place, well I’m in one right now. I frequent them. In the waiting place is the crossroads of happenings, of certain, of consistences. Right now even home is a confusing term. Home is truly Alaska. Where I am a proud resident, where I was raised and so much of me was defined. Where my family is and where my hobbies are. But my man is not there. And I have seen beyond and love the beyond. Chicago is home but it once again lacks my man. And it also lacks my Alaska. But when I hit the pedestrian go lights just as I approach a crosswalk I feel like I own that city. And here I am with my man now visiting the place I will move to come summer it is home because he is here. But Alaska and my city are not. Airplanes, airports, air mattresses, the ocean, shot gun passenger seat, new places, familiar faces, the list goes on with this that are partial homes but missing something.
I believe that life is a series of waiting places. I don’t think we know how to live satisfied and content in the waiting places, the valleys between the mountains, or perhaps that is just anxiety infested Sara talking. But there is beauty, adventure, and joy in the waiting places. I desire to be a careful student of the waiting place and to be a honest reporter of dwelling here.
Waiting places prepare us. Waiting places rest us. Waiting places are God’s tool to slow us down when we refuse to listen to Papa. And thankful the waiting place is not our destination. This blog is a desire to chat like you do with an old friend at your favorite coffee shop with a perfect peppermint latte anticipating Christmas. This is real talk in the realest degree.
The waiting place is hard. If you’d like to join me on this adventure, I’ll meet you
in the waiting place.