Joy in the Narrowing

I’m fixin’ to turn 29, ya’ll. (For some strange reason, I felt compelled to say this in a Texan accent…maybe it makes me feel more youthful?!)

True to my INFJ personality, I always spend the days surrounding my birthday pondering the past year, the upcoming year, and the passages of time. The past several years, this reflection has been tinged with a bit of remorse. Not that my life isn’t good. I’m blessed with so much: a kind, supportive husband, a loving family, friends, opportunities, ice-cream, and- most of all- the love of my Savior. But as each passing year has brought greater definition to my life, there have also been “little deaths” along the way.

Little deaths are the wild dreams I had as a 19, with Switchfoot being the soundtrack for each dream:

  • Live in Europe
  • Live in Nepal and Tibet
  • Run an orphanage
  • Run an NGO
  • Be an entrepreneur
  • Teach English as a second language
  • Be a world-class photojournalist
  • Marry an Italian with curly dark hair
  • Do all of the above by the time I am 30
Looking back on this list, it’s laudable that I had so many ambitions. With the exception of living in Romania for a semester and teaching English to a Korean immigrant for 1.5 months, I haven’t accomplished any of my original dreams. (I definitely didn’t marry an Italian with curly dark hair- ha! But I did marry the whitest of white American boys, with golden hair to match. And I wouldn’t trade him for all the Marios in the world. 🙂 ) But strangely, I no longer feel sorrow over this.

Along with my many dreams, came a hefty load of confusion. The culture’s message of “Anything is possible, you can be anyone and do anything you want” left me feeling completely paralyzed. With all these choices around me, I certainly didn’t want to make the wrong choice. And I didn’t want to miss out on one good dream because I said yes to another.

This confusion followed me around for a decade.

But what a difference 29 vs. 19 makes. 🙂

The decade of my twenties has taught me that it’s who you are, not what you do, that determines your adventures. It’s taught me that there is joy in the narrowing of life’s scope. It’s all well and good to dream up a thousand glorious dreams. But at some point, you have to decide which dream you’ll LIVE.

Accomplishing some of my original goals would still be pretty rad. But it’s also pretty rad to:

  • Be a devoted wife
  • Be a present mother
  • Be an invested friend
  • Focus on one or two things and keep doing them and doing them and doing them until you do them well
  • Enjoy the fruit that only the long-term-committed taste
These have been some of the grand adventures I have been privileged to experience in my twenties. And I’m so grateful.

Who knows, I still might run a crazy awesome NGO and orphanage in Tibet someday. God surprises us with new adventures everyday. 🙂 But in the meantime, I take great joy in the narrowing.

Autumn Fell Like Snow

I had a dream, not so long ago,
And You were in my dream,
As autumn fell like snow.

Leaves swooned among the breeze,
Silent- like a flyer of trapeze.
And there You were,
And there You stood.
You looked at me,
Lovingly-Your eyes gazing upon my soul.

A smile formed on Your lips.
Why?
Only You would know.
A quick breath I stole,
A slow kiss You blew.
My heart skipped a beat,
As nearer You drew.
You reached for me,
I reached for You.

And time stood still.

Amidst the chaos and the clutter,
Amongst the meanders and the mutters,
I heard You breathe:
“Everything you desire, and all for which you seek, is found only in Me. So come away with Me. Be no longer weak, for I am strong and I will lead. So come away, My Love, come away with Me.”

So come away I came.
And Loved became my name,
For I am His and He is mine.
And now we are but one.

I had a dream, not so long ago,
And You were in my dream,
As autumn fell like snow.