I didn't know what freedom was, but now I do."
-The Colorful Quiet "I Didn't Know"
A lot has changed in 9 months. Especially the last 4. And especially the last one.
Spring has finally sprung and there are no words for me to describe this feeling I have. I have been waiting for this Season since June and God has so faithfully carried me when I needed and guided me when I was running circles around my guilt. In the last month, there hasn't been a day that's gone by where I didn't stop suddenly and just beam. Because I am exactly where I'm supposed to be doing exactly what I'm supposed to be and able to become the woman God has destined me to be.
I have an incredible job with amazing people that I absolutely love - and I get to do it living in a place that I am in love with. In the words of one of my associates, "Shannon, you're in a city you're obsessed with." I do love it here, but I think no matter where I have lived or will live, I go out and explore. It's what I love doing. I'm meeting new people every week without limitation. When I think about the fact that I may have been at a different life stage, getting ready to spend the rest of my life with someone - I can't imagine being there right now. I am still soaking up the sunshine on my days off, dreaming, growing, hoping, praying, trusting, and surrendering. Every step I have ever taken has been guided and overseen by the Divine Creator. When I get scared or ask why or wonder what is next, He gently reminds me that if I knew all that is to come I would miss out on the joys of now. There is something beautiful about being fully present in the present.
All of the experiences I've had up until now have prepared me for such a time as this. And the timing of it all is so perfect. Had I entered the job I do now last summer, I wouldn't have grown into my role the way I have. And God knew that. He knew everything that would happen going forward last May on the day that I stood at my college graduation and the chancellor said, "I imagine you're not the same person you were four years ago..." And I know that 3 years from now, I will feel that way again.
I drove my friend Kelly to the airport this morning before the sun rose and after I dropped her off I passed a jumbo jet heading toward the runway. I had a particular song on and I always do this thing where I want something dramatic to happen - like a plane taking off? - right at the best part of the song. I kept rewinding and looking in my rear view mirror for the plane to take off. After a few minutes I didn't understand why the plane hadn't taken off. It was 6:47am and surely that plane was behind schedule because I've booked my fair share of flights, shopping those early 6:00 or 6:30 flights...
And then all of the sudden I looked out my front windshield and there it was, it had taken off and was headed upward. I had missed the take-off because I was so busy looking behind me. And it hit me that I no longer have to look backward - ever. Because I will miss everything that's ahead. Being present in the present.
Sometimes I see the lines on the faces of older folks and wonder what has caused the seasons of change in their life. Every line has a story, a sadness, a joy to be told. Tales of loss, success, dreams realized, and lessons learned. I hope that most of my lines will come from laughing - or at least finding a way to smile through the difficult times.
Every place God has ever taken me has been for my well-being, even when it hasn't always been a smooth ride. Suffering has been promised to me, a concept that I know sounds foolish to most. The path will not always make sense, and what is to come will not always be revealed - but I hold onto this promise:
"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:37-39
Redemption and freedom from trying to do it on my own is the reason for every smile, for every laugh, and for every moment that I stop in the middle of a great conversation with friends and realize that the only thing that matters is the here and now. I refuse to let these moments pass without a grateful heart and a smile on my face. Don't let the moments you can't get back escape without a chance to experience their beauty.
"I think I'm ready to leap, I'm ready to live, I'm ready to go."