Me before you
I remember the day I got the job like it was yesterday. I was sitting at my kitchen table in my apartment on a quiet Boston street. It was January of 2015, and outside the record-breaking 110 inches of snow Boston received that year made it difficult to decipher cars from snow banks. Other than having to dig my car out four times in two weeks, I had it all – my favorite city, Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, all of my friends and family and a job that paid the bills. All were virtually a stone’s throw away, and all was well from the outside looking in.
I hung up the phone after accepting the job offer and thought – Texas? Is this really happening? How could a New England girl make it in the South? Once the initial shock wore off, though, it started to feel right. While I loved where I was and who I was surrounded by, Someone else was nudging me toward a new life. You see, even though I had it all, I was lost. I felt this nagging emptiness and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I chalked it up to a ‘quarter-life-crisis’ for a while. Until one day, it came to me. So, I called my brother.
He was at seminary exactly a mile away from my apartment. It was the closest we’d lived to one another since he left home for college nine years earlier, and the closest we’ve lived to one another since. He was to be ordained a priest in a few short months. Me? I had left the Church long ago before being confirmed. To me, like so many other young people, Church was a bore, irrelevant, and out-of-date. Yet, I was beginning to realize that the weekend-long parties, the big-girl job, and the short-lived relationships weren’t fulfilling my desires. So, I asked my brother to help me find some answers. Three months later I was confirmed and two months after that he was ordained. A lot more could be said about that journey, but that’s for another day. It was time for our relationship to begin, Texas.
You & Me
You may be wondering then, Texas, what in the world this all has to do with you. Well, it’s simple really. It was within your immense, and very flat embrace where the foundation of what was laid in Boston would begin to take form. You allowed me to see where and to Whom I belong. Who I am and what it means to live life to the full (Jn 10:10).
So, before I leave in a few short days, I thought I’d spend some time reflecting on what I learned from you; what you gave me, and what you took away.
What you taught me
To trust & abandon
When I found the Author of my story, I didn’t need to worry about the next chapter.
In the true sense of the word. To will and see the good of the other. Not for what they can do for me but simply because they are.
Independence & Humility
Moving to a new place and forging new community was hard. It took time, effort and humility. I learned that the world wouldn’t end if I ate alone in a restaurant. In fact, you taught me that it’s actually kind of nice sometimes.
To respect the dignity of myself and others
By being intentional about my surroundings; the people who were in my life; what boundaries I set with them; what I did with my time; what I consumed (read, ate, watched and listened to) – all of these things directly affected my thoughts and actions. You taught me that we all have dignity that deserves the true, the good, and the beautiful.
To prudently but confidently pursue my desires
Marrying Kyle and quitting my corporate job for full-time photography were two of the largest life changes we took on together, Texas. Neither of these desires were immediately realized, though. In fact, the entirety of these last 5 years with you was spent carefully discerning and then finally taking the leap once I found the confidence.
What you gave me
- A husband, a new family, and a wedding greater than I could have ever imagined.
- A completely crazy and lovable feline named Todd.
- Christ-centered friendships that helped me become a better woman, friend, and spouse.
- A fierce, immeasurable love for Chick-fil-A.
- The word y’all and a little Texan twang, so say my New England friends. Though I don’t hear it.
- The honor of attending more weddings in 5 years here than in the entire 23 years I lived in New England.
- The two-step.
- Co-workers who treated me as an equal, bought me a Snuggie for my birthday – because the office was always so darn cold – and who came bearing chocolate chip cookies every Tuesday. Love you, Tiff’s treats.
- An appreciation for Southern hospitality.
- My first (and probably last) pair of cowboy boots.
What you took away
- All of the winter clothes I used to have. See you soon, North Face, REI, and Patagonia. I’ll be needing all of that again.
- Fear of the future.
- My previous disinterest in Mexican food. I miss you already, Chiloso and Torchy’s.
- The idea that I had to be like, or to please everyone else in order to be loved, appreciated or seen.
- The ability to go under seventy-five miles per hour on the highway.
- The desire to go out every weekend. I’ll take the couch, Kyle, and the Office, any – or every – day of the week.
- The belief that more is better – more clothes, more friends, more events, more productivity. Quality over quantity, please.
- The fact that I’d never been close to a tornado. Who knew lightning could be bright green and purple?
- My ability to handle the cold. I sure hope that comes back right quick.
- The belief that I’m limited to the circumstances under which I find myself.
Thank you, Texas. For being the scene of my growth in grace, the growth that I never thought was needed or even possible. For providing a home that will always be a part of my heart, my story, and my journey in living life to the full.
February 26, 2020