I twirled the fork around noodles and orange chicken as the world past the window caught my glances. The moving cars, the newspaper vendor on the corner, the wind-teetering umbrella, the vastly blue skies.
I sat with a two-year old whose blue eye and long lash duo will hold your heart, and a mother whose life reflects humility and grace in ways I’ve only read about. As conversation moved from crafting, to chuckling over the amount of rice that had left the toddler’s grasp and landed on the floor, we somehow reached a place that led me to end a thought of worry, doubt, and nearly shame, “I’m walking in place.”
She watched me carefully as I spoke, word after word tumbling off my clumsy lips. And she cared enough to respond in a way that gave the conversation room to grow. As I unloaded burdens that I didn’t realize had been carried for so long, we hashed through idea after idea of visions of the future and greater causes and lovely things. Eventually, as the sentences we spoke moved the gears and gadgets in my mind, excitement invited me to throw confetti and release balloons. The words we were sharing brimmed with inspiration that made me thirst for the fruits of the future.
But I stopped. And I confessed, “Rachel, I can’t take your ideas. If you want to write about these things, you should.” As the panda-painted advertisement and orange paper lanterns watched from afar, she simply smiled at me from across the table and responded in a way that changed everything.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
To seek the stories of this life and listen with eager ears :: I want to hear stories of love, and bravery, and hard things, and heart-break, and renewal, and things that matter to people most. If every second of our lives a hundred things are being worked for a greater good, and we’re only capable of seeing one of those things at a time, then I want to see it in its fullest intent. Even when it’s not my moment, I want to be there. With the tissues, the coffee, the ears, the smile that whispers, “That’s awesome”– I want to be there later as the memories flood out of eyes and words tumble off lips. To share in testimony, to share in experience, to share in a moment that changed it all. I want to hear & picture these things. This life was never pieced together with “just happened”s. I want for you to know that. And your mother. And your best friend. And the guy who parks beside you at school. I want for you to know life is so much more.
To find the passion that moves people to movement :: I want to support causes and groups that are using bold ideas to impact lives. There are brave people in this world– maybe even in your community– who have given their heart to shaking down walls and loving on people with selfless abandon. These are the people who have not only seen the hurting and the suffering, but who have had enough soul and passion to stand up and build for it. In making movement out of creative ideas, the leaders of organizations around the world– whether nonprofits or missions work or simply cool things– have led a role in transforming lives of different ages, cultures, races, stories, everything. People are doing cool things for other people. Not only is that worth talking about, but that’s worth supporting. And with as much as I can, I want to latch on and support the guys and gals that show up & meet needs. To find something worth investing in and doing and caring for– that‘s the goal.
To listen to the melodies worth singing about :: I want to find new tunes to hum and words to sing. There is a vastness sprawled across the entire makeup of music, and at least one person somewhere has spelled their heart out across the staff in the language of majors and flats and fortes and everything in between to make it a reality. And if music is the art that brings sound to the soul, then I want it to resound. Not in the way it means to vibrate in radio airwaves, but to resound from a place not yet known. In dusty corners, in Icelandic earphones, in the smallest Spotify play list– let the music be found.
To write about the woven beauties and lovely things :: In the most secret, hidden piece of my heart is this immense desire to make beautiful things. With as much as my feeble hands, beating heart, and small life can muster, I want to seek the greater things begging to be seen and selflessly give them back. That’s the important part of it all: giving it back. And for me, I’m learning the best way to make a gift of this life is to be present in these moments and piece them back together in a tapestry of written words. If the works woven in my life have led to me believe that brave and bold clash together in written work, then that’s what I want to follow. Every syllable and every Oxford comma. Signed, sealed, wrapped in a silky bow, delivered. All Yours.
At the core of these words– all my wants and curiosities– is this: I want to be brave. There are millions stacked on millions of stories, organizations, and songs in this world begging to be heard, found, loved on, and passed on. I want to be the one endeavoring to seek these good things, handle with care, and share them in bold abandon. Because here it is: people are bringing life & light through moments, gifts, talents, and desires created purposefully in their hearts. And as a gal trying to learn a thing or two about loving others and living with intention, I cannot shake the feeling that there is a work to be done to make sure these testimonies, these manifestos, these soaring melody lines are shared.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
I climbed out of the passenger seat of the Jeep that day– after the drive home from Nashville plus two more slow laps around the church parking lot– with a full heart. Full of good words, good memories, good ideas. Above all, I left my friend that day feeling refreshed, and at peace with the clarity she had helped me navigate me through. Not only had her willingness to listen affected me, but her genuine desire to see me follow the pulls on my heart, draw nearer, and shake the world in faith led me to move.
I spent the following days basking in not only the possibilities of what could come, but that would come if I simply made a move. Those days turned into weeks, and before I could look at the clock again, I realized this was a journey– a journey of big moments, and big adventures, and big promises. It’s a big life. And that’s so scary, and for a long time, I let the vastness of those incredible possibilities glue me into silence.
But then I met Passion. And Passion pushed me out of the plane. She pushed me into the rushing air above the green fields, and with fists thrust close to the sky, Passion came jumping out behind me laughing, “I hope you have your ‘schute.” And at first I didn’t get it. And I had my arms and legs reaching to both sides of the open door, as if I could hold myself in. And I begged her to keep me standing on the worn floors of the flying plane until our feet left prints in the grassy ground again– to let me stay in the silly position I was in. But then I did start falling in a way I had never known before, and I knew then: life is too packed full of grace to not jump out of the plane & invest your energy in the things that make every piece of your being soar, soar, soar.
So that’s what this is. I’m just a little thing flying aimlessly through the air. I don’t know where I’m going, but how will I ever if I don’t make a move.
As the pastor put it on a Sunday morning, practically pointing to my pew: “The cop-out is this: ‘this isn’t God’s time.’ And, friend, you are building your life off of ‘waits’ if that is your excuse.”
Or as the roommate wise beyond her years quoted on a Sunday night in a still living room, “It’s easier to guide a moving car than a stationary one.”
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
Every syllable, every paragraph indent, every sentence fragment. This is me jumping out of the safety of my plane and seeking to find a greater adventure in this world that any I could muster on my own accord. This is me trying hard to make grace known in every breath I take, every person I see, every story I hear, and every step I walk; this is grace manifest.