everyone told me life was gonna be this way.

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Two years ago I was taking pictures in front of the fountain next to the friends who became family. We had just sat in rows of identical square hats, shook hands, and received an empty folder with a gold embossed logo on it. We hugged our people and thanked our professors. Later that evening we would all go to a concert in the park that our friends’ band was singing at. We danced and ate chips & salsa and no one mentioned the fact that everything was going to be different because in that moment, everything was good.

People kept warning me that the post-grad season is really hard as I prepared for my leap into the elusive “real world” two years ago. I hated that they were ruining my bright-eyed view of endless possibilities without a syllabus weighing me down. Post-grad might have been hard for them, but not for me. I belonged to community. I was a leader that people looked to for direction. I could do anything and the world was my oyster!

“During the process of rising, we sometimes find ourselves homesick for a place that no longer exists.”Rising Strong, my gal Brené (Brené Brown, that is. We’re not on a first name basis but I would like to think maybe someday we will be. We both were swimmers and have a tendency to cuss when we get riled up.) wrote this down and it has never hit closer to home than in these last two years.

During the process of rising, we sometimes find ourselves homesick for a place that no longer exists. – Brené Brown

It took me one year post-grad to realize that things were different after being homesick for the way things were, and just like everyone said – it was really hard. It took me two years later to realize that life is still good. It will probably take me a lifetime to figure out how to keep standing when the tide comes back in or the winds change.

I’m trying not to use the word “season” because it feels too temporary. And honestly, I’m trying my best to not refer to my life stage now as “post-grad” because it keeps my eyes fixed on the rearview mirror rather than on the road ahead. But one of the hardest things about this post-grad season is the undoing of what was sure. I went from being someone who saw myself as an example to look to – who was decisive and knew exactly what she was doing and why – to being relatively anonymous, having little to no direction at any given point in time and having to rebuild who I am from the ground up.

This might say more about me and my self-absorbed tendencies to view myself as way cooler than I actually am than it does about life after graduation. But if someone knows when the label “post-grad” has an expiration date, let me know, because two years later I’m still feeling like I’m in my freshman year of life.

I wanted to be able to follow a formula for success: get a credible job, move to an actual city, move in with friends to the same apartment and live across the hall from one another, meet in a coffee house every day at lunch, yell “WE WERE ON A BREAK” when you mess up and your heart gets broken, watch Monica & Chandler get married… you know, the typical 20-something lifestyle.

My formula for moving on was a gap year lived in my college town and then plans to move home with my parents to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a barista in Portland. I kid you not, this was my big life plan for after college. Four years of tears and student loans and I am still so grateful that God dreams way bigger than I do. Today, my life looks completely different than how I would ever have imagined.

It’s like someone pulled all of the yarn out of my favorite sweater and handed it over for me to recreate without a pattern or directions. Granted, I’ve never knit anything in my life (sorry Grammie, I know you tried so hard to teach me but let’s be honest, I was never a crafting prodigy) and I don’t know why I’m starting with a sweater, but it’s a ton of guesswork. Maybe this long piece here will turn into a sleeve and the part up top kind of looks like a turtleneck and those are hip now so that’s good… but I’ve got a whole load of tangled yarn yet and I don’t know how to make it fit. It’s still good material, I just might end up with a scarf instead.

There isn’t a pattern for how to move on to what’s next after the undoing. The undoing isn’t a sequential step-by-step process but instead it’s more like poetry or jazz, having some kind of form but is punctuated with unexpected twists and new melodies that you have to learn to adapt to. You can’t mix and measure your way to a perfect transition, that would take all of the living out of it because transitions have to start with an end.

Grads, your life as you know it is ruined – which sounds extreme but is actually the most wonderful place to start. There’s this quote in the Bible of when Isaiah sees God for the first time. He falls down and yells “I am ruined!” because he has seen something so beautiful and OTHER THAN that he can never live life the same way as before he witnessed it.

That’s what the undoing is like: a holy destruction of life as you know it, then making something beautiful out of all of it’s parts and pieces.

I hope you grieve the end because of how sweet those late nights and long weekends were. I hope you remember the magic of making your own community for the first time. I hope you bring with you the lessons learned and that you don’t forget how special of an opportunity it was to participate in higher education. And I hope that you always laugh at movies like Nacho Libre and never grow tired of finding a new taco truck on a street corner.

I also hope that you don’t try to shove these unique experiences into wherever you are next. The last 4-5 years were one of a kind. Any attempt at replicating them is just a cheap knock-off of the real thing that will leave you frustrated that you can’t recreate the original. Except for the Nacho Libre part because that movie is hilarious no matter what.

So be patient with yourself. Let yourself feel all of the emotions – the relief of being done with something you worked so hard for, the excitement of new possibility, the worry of not having a next step, the sadness of watching your people move to new places, the anger that happens when things don’t go your way, the loneliness that comes during the process of building new community, and the hope that comes from knowing that tomorrow will be better.

Welcome to the world, I can’t wait to see what you make.

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the truth about staying.

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“You might be part pitbull.” He said. To my manager, this is the ultimate compliment. It means that in his eyes, I don’t give up.

If he only knew that I am queen of the 3-month relationship, have quit more fad workout regimens than I can count on two hands, and frequently skip songs on Spotify once they get through the chorus, he might have said something different. But this compliment was proof to me that I’m growing up.

My fight or flight reflex is heavily weighted towards flight. When things get hard, I run. It’s embarrassing that my willingness to quit something for the sake of my own comfort has often defeated my will to fight back. In light of the world around me, I prayed for this to change. Comfort is just another form of oppression for those who don’t have the privilege to live without conflict. And I’m learning that seeing someone, truly seeing them, is the key to love – which is the ultimate fight.

Lately I’ve admired the fighters who always seemed to be running down the next thing in their way. They were constantly moving, constantly chasing, always finding the next challenge they could take on to bring about justice or create good.

I used to think choosing adventure and movement was more courageous. Like the ones who made the big move to a brand new city every few years instead of choosing to live in the same town they grew up in were somehow stronger.

All of that fighting the next fight is just another way to avoid finishing the job. During the fight, things get messy. It doesn’t always go your way and you might end up face down after throwing a punch or five. But if you move on to find a different fight in hopes that you’ll automatically be victorious, isn’t that just the same as the ones who run away at the first sign of trouble?

I don’t want to come off like I have it all figured out in my relationship with God, but I think He values staying a lot more than I do. He seems to say “Stay. Wait. Be Still. Watch.” to me far more often than he says, “Move. Go. Fight. Take up your sword.”

It’s like I’ve got these God-sized dreams and instead of sprinting after them I’m supposed to choose a neighborhood and buy a Costco membership. It’s uncomfortable and seems weird and all I want to do is move to the city where I feel like I can hustle my dreams into reality, but it was never about me and my ability. It was always always always about how God chose to stay with me even when I don’t deserve it.

Staying is hard, especially for the dreamers. It’s risky because it may mean that your community might see you when you’re weak. You might even look like you’re failing. I keep running because I’m trying to save face. I don’t want to need people. I don’t want to need God. My stubborn, flighty self wants to keep running and prove that I’m enough to myself and the rest of the watching world. But I’m only human.

Staying is where the good stuff happens. It’s how you plant the deep roots that keep you grounded. It’s where the growing up happens and even though it doesn’t get easier, it becomes familiar. Staying builds your grit muscles and teaches you how to keep standing, even when you find your knees scraped and knuckles bruised. Even when every bone in your body is telling you to move on or risk being found out.

Maybe the braver choice is staying. Maybe it takes a lot more courage to face the uncomfortable, disappointing and confusing middle and see it through to end. Maybe communities are more affected by the ones that keep showing up rather than the ones who make a big splash and leave soon after. Maybe we all need to stay.

So make a promise to yourself to tough it through the uncomfortable middle. Keep a white-knuckle grip on the place you’re at. Tattoo the word on your ribs if you have to. Whether you’re in transition or facing conflict or just seem to find yourself knocked down, keep standing. Your heart will thank you for learning to stay.

 

missing my British twin.

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The 90’s and early 2000’s pop culture marketed at young tweens had a weird obsession with twins. If you went to a sleepover and didn’t eat pizza and watch Billboard Dad (or another classic Mary-Kate & Ashley movie) you weren’t crimping your hair right.

Knowing its audience well, Disney reintroduced The Parent Trap in 1998. This movie convinced me I had a long lost twin somewhere in the world and that I needed my ears pierced. It also kicked off my deep admiration for Lindsay Lohan & Dennis Quaid. My mom assured me from her eyewitness experience of my birth that I most definitely was not a twin, but sometimes on my hard days I like to imagine there’s a British version of Emily on the other side of the world. She’s having a great hair day and has perfected all of the steps to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” choreography. In other words, I hope alternate me is having a killer day when I am feeling less than.

This idea of imagining another you in another space at the same time is the dip-your-toe-in-version of what a multiverse is.

Why am I writing to the internet about the multiverse? Because my idea brain is the most active on airplanes, with the heights and perspective and whatnot, and flying inspires me. It’s probably why I impulsively buy tickets instead of clothes like a normal woman. As I write this, I have literally flown from coast to coast and back again (Eastern Standard to Hawaii Pacific Time, which is 6 hours of difference so I was #TeamNoSleep). Then I listened to a podcast about the multiverse. If you’ve ever wondered how big someone can think, make sure they’re exhausted from travel and then challenge them with quantum physics and philosophy.

Time to get sciency: I learned that multi-universes are not plausible according to everything observable. Which is fine by me. But I’ve been in a heady space and I’m a heady gal and I think the universe is full of things unseen. I’m not saying that there’s other universes out there, but I do think it’s important to know where your head goes when your heart is hurting.

After changing time zones too quickly I found my mind wandering back to my long lost British twin and I wished her well, like the proper psycho I am and also like someone who misses someone when they’re alone on a plane 30,000 feet above everyone you love in real life. 

I don’t think the world does a good job of talking about loneliness. We’re all afraid to admit that from time to time, we all feel lonely. There’s an expectation that if you have awesome friendships, maybe a great romantic relationship, consistent/stable/healthy time with your family, or any other form of thriving community in your life then you aren’t allowed to feel sad when you’re alone. It’s like if you admit that you’re lonely, then you’re weird or desperate for more relationship in your life, which isn’t true. It just means you’re missing someone somewhere.

I’ve had a lot of alone time lately, and because of that I’ve felt real lonely. This is not a cry for help or a realization that I need more friends – I have those, I swear! – but it’s a simple statement of fact. I’m not good at being alone. For those of you who are into things like the Enneagram, I’m a Type 6 which literally means that my biggest fear is being without support and guidance from people/communities I trust. Without people around me, I tend to get insecure and indecisive and scared. Lonely likes to sneak in and whisper lies that my secure relationships aren’t actually so secure and no one wins. 

I don’t really have a tidy quote or life lesson prepared by being honest about this, other than the belief that loneliness is as powerful as it is normal. I’ve seen it make hearts hard and lead people to make split-second decisions that hurt themselves and others. So I decided I’m taking loneliness back.

The way to slay the dragon named “Lonely” is to embrace it with open arms – fully, wholly, completely. Don’t let Lonely tell you lies that you’re unworthy of love. Lonely just means you were brave enough to let people in once upon a time. That should be celebrated and I hope you continue to have courage to step into situations that scare you – like being alone or choosing love over apathy or renting a moped in Hawaii and pretending you know where you’re going.

We’ve got to talk about this feeling that can influence our decisions and bring so much shame around such a normal concept. So how do you respond to loneliness? Do you think being lonely is a bad thing? Why do you think admitting that we’re feeling lonely is such a hurdle for most people? If you’re feeling bold, leave a comment below or send me an email if you prefer a little anonymity.

The next time you’re feeling lonely, just know that we’re all missing our British twins and we all wish them well. Maybe there is another universe where they’re all wishing us well, too.

a pep talk: keep on adulting, kid.

If you’re a tired twenty-something who has a long list of responsibilities and a whole lot of questions about what the H you’re doing, this is for you.

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Daylight Savings hit me like a bug on a windshield.

Most days I wake up before the sun is awake. My alarm goes off at 6AM and after pressing snooze 3 times I pull myself out of bed. By 6:30 I’m sitting with a cup of coffee and my Bible on my lap with the world’s largest cat curled up next to me. My morning ritual of rising before the sun doesn’t make me any less tired, and most mornings I debate trading sleep for sanity, but it’s my sacred space. So when 6AM feels more like 5AM, it’s hard make like Big Sean and bounce back.

Adulting is hard. A friend shared this on Facebook the other day and I literally LOL-ed in my office because of how true it is. Adulting means prioritizing and actually doing what life has served to you on your plate. And it’s exhausting, especially here in the PNW “Almost Spring Not Quite” season where it’s hard to tell where the gray starts and ends.

You’ve got a list of to-dos to prove to the world that you are, in fact, thriving but you’ve only got the energy level to put on real pants that day. That’s only if you’re absolutely killing it and you’ve done laundry in the past few days or so. Most weeks I’m lucky if I remember to do laundry in time before I run to Target and buy some clean clothes.

Maybe you’re facing a mountain of your finals or you’re buried at work or maybe it’s just been a couple of rough weeks for you since the shiny beginning of 2017. Whatever it is, your tank is empty. BUT. I believe we’re the comeback kids. So consider me your Coach Taylor (except not a man and way less handsome).

My words are not as poetic as “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” But if you’re a tired twenty-something – like myself – who has a long list of responsibilities and a whole lot of questions about what the H you’re doing, this is for you.

First thing’s first: look up.

We get so heads down in the grind to prove ourselves as capable humans that we forget to look up around us and breathe. Everything seems a lot bigger when it’s the only thing you’re looking at. You’ve got a capable body and a sound mind a whole lot of future ahead of you. No matter what happens today, there’s going to be a tomorrow. Look around you and realize first and foremost that you’re not alone in this.

But there is something in this world that only you can do and the world needs you to do it.

This may seem scary, but it’s the truth! You were given a whole set of talents, abilities, opportunities and a brain that’s unique to you. You’re something special, you know that? And yes, everybody has been telling you this since the day you were born and it can start to feel like a pipe dream. But something magical happens when you realize that you play an important part in the world.

You could be the world’s greatest pinball player. Or you could use your dance moves to bring cultures and communities together. Or you could code the next app that saves lives. Or you could use your words, resources, and life to do a whole lot of good in your neighborhood.

I get that you can’t put words to what your gifts are yet, but they’re there. I know they are. YOU know they are. It’s only a matter of time before the golden parts of you are uncovered, but it’s on you to make the effort to do so.

You might not be able to create enough space right now to identify what it is you were meant to do on this big green planet, but that’s ok. Sometimes the most important thing right now is to show up and try your best to be present in the work you’re doing today. All of these little experiences make you more into the person you were meant to be. So keep track of what you love and what you hate, eventually you’ll start to build a clearer vision of who you want to be.

Here’s some tough love that I need to hear, too: stop being numb.

There are so many ways to eat the hours and keep us occupied. We scroll and like and click “continue watching” until our brains are exhausted enough to switch off and drift to a hazy shut down. You justify that you need this period of “rest” so that you can continue adulting tomorrow, but that’s not true. Numbing ourselves cheats us out of living and growing into real people. Eventually it becomes a habit and you wake up later and realize that you made a lot of plans and held a lot of dreams but never did anything about them. Don’t live your life in woulda/shoulda/coulda. Take a deep breath and do it, whatever “it” is.

I know you’re trying your hardest to make sure you’re doing everything right. You checked all the boxes of “ways to be a great adult” and still ended up doubting if this was the right thing to do. You look around at everyone else and make yourself responsible for being the example, even if you don’t even know what the example is supposed to look like. But remember when I told you to look up at the other pretty faces around you? They’re trying to figure out the same thing – what am I doing? We’re all wondering what we’re doing, so you don’t have to be the one person who does.

Today’s freedom: No one is expecting you to be the success story. Everyone around you isn’t holding you to these same measuring tape you use and you’re not going to let anyone down if you misstep along the way. No one is watching to see if you’ll fail. But there is a whole tribe of people who want to see you rise and make it to the finish line when you do.

They’re rooting for you to find that thing that makes you feel like all the disconnected parts of you came together – your symphony of strengths. That moment doesn’t have to happen today or tomorrow or next week. It might not even be a one time thing. It could be a series of decisions that all point to one obvious next step. Whatever it is, you were meant to find it and I believe you will.

Homegirl, you were never created to be good at “adulting”. Adulting makes it seem like you have to have it all figured out, and how boring is that? Life is way more fun when you have a sense of wonder and adventure. And grace is all the more sweeter when you mess up and don’t deserve it.

One day you’ll blink and you’ll be sixty. You won’t remember the each day’s ins and outs from when you had no idea who you were, but you’ll remember what you learned and made with your life.

There is always going to be another to-do or more responsibility piled on your plate, but you may not get another opportunity to sing karaoke with your friends on a Thursday night or watch college basketball with your grandpa. There’s only a select few days of sunshine in the PNW winter-spring, so go for a hike. Your laundry and your email inbox can wait and you’ll feel all the more human after you take a minute to truly rest and breathe.

You’re going to be alright, kid. You’re going to be alright.

ending well & other things I’m bad at.

Featuring that one planner everyone owns by Rifle Paper Co, that one bedspread everyone owns from Ikea, and my favorite wool socks.

There are few things as satisfying as finishing a great book. Knowing that I spent weeks (albeit sometimes days, or even hours, depending on the story and my schedule) devoted to finishing one thing and finally reaching the empty pages at the back is a unique form of relief. The definition of closure is flipping the last page and reaching “The End.”

I grow attached to characters and the message; often I’ll write my favorite quotes down on pieces of paper and stick them around my room to find later to help me through the post-book depression that starts to settle in soon after I’m finished. For awhile I’ll mope around and refuse to read anything ever again because I’m convinced it just won’t measure up. I’ll tell all of my friends that they have to read this book because I feel some sort of strange loyalty to it. One day I’ll go to the library to find another piece of fiction to tide me over and the cycle starts all over again: read, fall in love, finish, mope, move on.

That’s what ending well looks like to me.

Sometimes I wish life’s seasons were divided into chapters and bound by hard covers. That way  ending well would look like living the story, falling in love with it, finishing the season, mourning about the good times in memorandum, and eventually moving on a little wiser and stronger than before.

This time though, I’m eager to shut 2016’s cover. Screw the process. I want to duct tape this year shut, shove it away in a box marked “NO” and never look back. It’s easy. It’s quick. It allows me to ignore the tough stuff instead of doing the gritty work of sorting through this year. During a couch talk – aka the slightly less dramatic equivalent of a driveway car talk – with my sister, I realized that in order to move forward we have to decide what to bring with us from 2016.

Here’s an unpopular opinion: 2016 wasn’t actually the worst year ever.

Life really sucked when the Black Plague hit Europe in 1346. I’m also going to give a HARD PASS on going back in time to 1861 when the Civil War was taking place. I lived in North Carolina for a month this year, and even though that was less than ideal I would gladly take Charlotte in 2016 over 1861. Just saying. And I’m going there: World Wars. Hitler. Genocides. Even though you can make valid comparisons of these past crises to current world problems, the list for “The World’s Worst Year” is pretty thick.

I don’t want to invalidate the pain that has scarred this year for individuals and people groups. People made choices that left others hurt and confused about where they belong, if they belong. That’s devastating and shouldn’t be made small. But this year hasn’t had more or less letdowns than others. We have always been living in a world that is bleeding from the inside out, it just became more obvious this year. If anything, 2016 was the year that left me feeling a little less naïve than before because of this realization.

Surreal is the best way to summarize how I felt looking at the state of the world and my life after this year. It was hard to believe I was actually seeing and hearing things. Most things I held as true and safe were challenged. I kept saying that I felt older after reading the news of another worldview shattered. A lot of my good friends have expressed feeling frustrated by this constant second-guessing of what is real in their lives as well.

Life never gets clearer, you just get more sure of yourself.

I wrote this quote down on a sticky note and kept it on my work computer. It’s been acting as a subtle reminder that I need to rip the 2016 box open and sort through it. Otherwise it’s going to sit on my shelf for years taking up valuable space in my heart. So I’m holding the triumphs and trials of 2016 in my hands and choosing to keep close the moments – good and bad – that made me feel more sure of who I am. Kind of like a weird, mental version of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. I’m in my mid-twenties and these are the kinds of books you read when you’re trying to pretend to have your life together.

Moments like standing next to my best friends when they got married are the ones that show me that this year mattered. Or times when I took a risk and learned something new. Or where I was when I found out about Brexit or the US election results. And how I felt when I looked at the picture of the little Syrian boy in the ambulance. This highlight reel of living 2016 out to my edges is what I’m able to point to as experience, wisdom, and has revealed more of God’s heart to me.

I mention God a lot in these blogs but I don’t really address the fact that yes, I am a Christian, and yes, my life has been completely changed by following Jesus. Maybe that’s because I’m afraid that somebody will assume things about me that aren’t true based off of what they read. So here it is: I’m passionate about loving God and His people (that’s you, that’s everyone). I still drink far too many margaritas and say things I shouldn’t and that’s ok. It doesn’t change the fact that I am completely sure that God has called me His daughter, even if I’m not sure about a lot anymore. That’s big for 2017.

I’m bad at making resolutions. It’s hard to set measurable goals when you only have a sliver of an idea of what you want or how God is working in and through you. But I want to give 2016 credit where credit is due: it made me more into the Emily that I want to be in 2017.

In 2017 and for the rest of my little existence here, I want to see people and run toward them rather than running away because I’m uncomfortable. I want to celebrate well and dance hard and often, because some things – like love, hope, and forever promises – deserve to have a bottle of champagne popped and a killer playlist. I want to freely forgive. I want to travel because I can and pet dogs because I can and vote because I can and love because I can. I want to be bold and say the things I mean and hug people a little closer because no one gives good hugs anymore. And I want to ride my bike more.

So as much as I want to ignore 2016, it mattered. And 2017 will matter, too. And one day all of the years will add up and matter a whole lot. Then everything that happened won’t matter at all because I’ll be way too focused on praising God for who He is and has been all this time.

Here’s to becoming more of who we already are.

the good life.

I’ve been walking a pretty steady pace in 2016, and then November came into my life. November cranked the speed all the way up to 10 and told me to keep breathing.

Each weekend in my planner quickly filled up with celebrations, conferences, trips to the airport, and promises. In the moments between scheduled appointments, life’s news decided to push in for space as well. What little room I had to rest and recoup was filled with a mosh pit of hard feelings – the blues and the mean reds and even the confusing combination of violet, too.

At first glance, I’m usually pegged as an extrovert who is a “yes” person. I’m a chatty gal who loves a good happy hour with friends and holds her own when talking to strangers, so it’s easy to assume that I’m most relaxed in a group of people.

Hard as I have fought to uphold this image, the older I get the more I’m realizing how much alone time I need to function as a person who loves people well. I look forward to cancelled plans because that means I can go for a run or read a new book. Showers are the best because I have an excuse to be alone. After parties I turn myself into a blanket burrito for a day just to feel human again. At the heart of all social interactions, I’m an introvert of introverts.

Needless to say: November was exhausting.

Every other blog and op-ed circling the Internet seems to have the same feeling that we all got socked in the gut and we’re not sure why. I think we’re all just looking for someone or something to blame so we can move on with our lives, but when there’s no one to point to you just feel stuck.

How do you move forward when you don’t know how or who brought you to the place you’re in? It’s a desert out there and God feels far away. It feels like he dropped us off here in 2016 and left us with the clothes on our back and a canteen to build character.

Lately I want to throw my hands up and say “I don’t want to be here, I want to be there.” I’m guilty of treating this “desert” as the in-between before my actual life. Like once I move or get promoted or make 10 new friends or join one of those hip, niche gyms then the things that made November so full of disappointment won’t have a hold on me anymore. We’re all slaves to the next thing that makes us feel whole again.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with hope. But the cocktail of hope and the in-between is a dangerous one. It mixes feelings of discontent with the reality of now. Because in the midst of all of the crap November brought, there really has been a lot of light.

This month I’ve been on six different planes and have spent weekends in four different places. At each stop along the way I’ve been able to share a meal with someone I love and do something I’ve never done before. I’ve checked two dreams off of my bucket list and have lived out the true stories I will tell my kids someday when they’re falling asleep. Disappointment won a lot of battles this month, but joy won the war outright.

Here’s a piece of wisdom that I’ve tucked away for the especially gray days:

“Whatever is happening in our lives right now, that’s God’s best for us. Even if what I think is best is different, He knows. And I want to live out His best and honor that gift.”

Yes – life does feel a little lost right now and God feels too big and far away in the midst of the mess. Where I’m at doesn’t feel like what’s best for me and what I think would be the best is over there… wherever there is. I’m learning that I don’t need to feel like everything is okay to come, sit at His feet and wrestle through the hard stuff together. He knows I’m tired and I need a moment to be upset. But He’s also a good gift giver, so good that I found myself sitting in Main Street in Disney World with a cup of warm coffee humming “The Good Life” and “Holly Jolly Christmas”.

It feels good to breathe in the now rather than wishing for less than. It might even be what’s best.

a Cubs win means more curses are ready to be broken.


W.

For those of you – like me – who don’t necessarily follow baseball and you might have sworn off all media for 2016 (not a bad idea, in hindsight) the Chicago Cubs just won the World Series after a comeback, a rain delay, and a 108-year “curse” hanging over their heads. A curse that said no matter how hard the Cubs tried or how dedicated their fans were, they would never quite achieve what they wanted to… except when Wednesday happened and it was shattered. For-ev-er.

Curses get a lot of credit they don’t deserve. It’s easy to justify crappy situations by pointing to something beyond our control, like a curse, and shifting all blame to it. I made a joke the other day with a friend that my dating life is cursed by me being the one before the One (has only been true once…maaaaybe twice, but it made us both laugh). It’s easy to say “unlucky” or chalk a bad situation up to being cursed rather than face the fact that maybe it wasn’t our turn. Or maybe we didn’t have the faith & patience & perseverance to break the curses weighing us down ourselves. 

In the words of Michael Scott, “I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious.” Some things in life truly just happen, but I don’t want to credit life’s magic moments to just coincidence. It’s the victories, the W’s, that we need to lift up on our shoulders and hoist in the air. Let’s give them the facetime instead of the curses. Things like a 108-year-old curse being broken deserve to be celebrated more than just another mark in history. They deserve parties and parades, the toasts and speeches written about their long time coming, and they deserve to be recognized as on purpose. Things like the Cubs winning the World Series make me hopeful that all curses are just waiting to be broken by a group of ordinary people with extraordinary callings. 

This is not a political post. I promise I will not say the names of Those Who Must Not Be Named. But 2016 has made me cynical, and I’m not the only one. There has been a lot of disappointment in the state of the world and it can make a gal feel blue. Instead of letting all of the things going wrong dictate what we speak about 2016, I vote that we start talking about all the curses that were shattered this year because that’s what really matters. 

There are victories happening all around – like human trafficking busts and documentaries like 13TH being brave enough to tell the truth and love stories of people pledging stick by each other for better OR worse. These are the stories worth celebrating and telling our grandbabies about one day. Stories of hope breed dreamers, and we need more of those in our lives to grow up to be the curse breakers of the future. 

I believe in people, regardless of how unqualified and imperfect they are. I will root for the underdog and I will bet against all odds for the One to change the game. We give curses too much credit because it just takes one win, one person, one ruling, one change to shut it down forever. Even if it takes awhile, they always come to an end if you’re patient enough to keep the faith that promises curses are only temporary. So let’s keep the hope and let the rest of 2016 be a year of the W.