Looking back, I see the Lead of Love"
This Caedmon's Call song has meant a lot to me throughout the last decade. It's been blasted from my '86 Oldsmobile with the plush red seats as I left my college home in Nashville for the freeways of Houston. I sang it aloud as I then drove away with Houston in my rearview mirror back to Nashville. And it made me cry a little when I left Nashville for the second time to embrace my grown-up life in Dallas.
On Thanksgiving Day, I said goodbye to the twenties and turned Thirty Years Old. I left behind a decade that has formed me. In my twenties, I became an adult. I have been blessed with friends near and far. I began to find out who I was and what I wanted my life to be about...what my gifts were and how to best use them...how weak I am and how much I need to continue becoming a better person, friend, daughter, wife.
I admit, there is a small aching feeling deep in my chest when I realize I will never in my entire life be Twenty-Something again. I can't ever take back all of the moments I spent in college or living a carefree life of single girl in Houston and Nashville. Turning from 19 to 20 is so different. It's more like, See ya later teenage years, don't let the door hit you on the way out. But turning 30 is such a watershed moment in one's life. I thought I was becoming an adult when I turned 20, but what I'm learning is that I haven't really become a woman until now. Even though it's bittersweet, today I would not trade the confidence I have as a 30-year-old. I do like who I am. I look forward to finding out how God is going to use my little life in this world.
I love this time of year, too. Not only is the weather cooling to the soul, but it's such a time of celebration! I have several friends with birthdays including my mom, sister-in-law, dear friends Jenni and Brett, and new friend Victoria. It's so fun to celebrate them. I remember sitting on the floor of Brett's apartment in Houston in the summer of 1998 when I asked her age. She answered, "25." Nearly 5 years older than I, she seemed so much wiser, more like a mentor than a peer. Now, she is 35, I am 30, and many things have changed. I am blessed with an amazing home, family, husband, doggie, several kindred spirits, and more friends than I can count scattered around this globe.
A few months ago, I started making a list of all the things I've done or accomplished in my twenties...like "Lost 50 pounds," "Bought a house," and "Traveled to India, Kenya, Uganda, France, Italy, Monaco, and Switzerland." I considered posting them all here but decided to keep them in my journal to enjoy on my own. Who am I, if my last ten years is just a list of things I've done and seen? As I was reminded last night while reading When The Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd, who I am is not defined by what I have, what I do, or who is in my life. Because what if it was all taken away? Who would I be then?
I am thankful I can look back and genuinely smile, laugh, and thank God for where I am today. There has been struggle and sadness, and there are circumstances in my life that I would not have chosen on the front end...but everything that really matters, I have securely, and that is a gift. So really, what else needs to be on that list other than "I Learned to Love And Be Loved"? As I face the next thirty years, I hope this is the one thing I keep in sight.