I’ve been thinking recently about the chapters in my life that have really shaped me into the person I am today. All of the chapters of my life have shaped me into the person I am today, I suppose, but there are quite a few that really impacted me and those are the ones I’ve been thinking about. Specific people, trips, random events (some lasting months, others lasting only a few hours) .. the ones that have left a tattoo on my brain. As someone who walked a rocky road before finding Jesus I find that I am even more introspective on the ways the Lord saved me.
I went to Colorado summer of 1998 and packed a carton of cigarettes for the trip. And, under those same skies is where I surrendered my life to the Lord.
Since my brother passed away when I was five and my sister is eight-years older than I am I grew up without siblings in the home from the age of ten on. Eight years left me hungering for friends so much I was willing to be a chameleon in order to fit in with any and everyone. Some of this is due to to my personality, other bits are due to my past. After several years of self-destructive behavior I eventually made the incredibly hard decision to no longer give my energy toward people who negatively influenced me. My weekends in high school were always spent at school games, staying up way too late talking on the phone and ultimately crashing in a bed at a friend’s house. I’ll never forget the first Friday night I sat at home by myself. I ate dinner with my parents and asked God if it really was all worth it. I promise I won’t fold to peer pressure so easily. Can I please just call and see what they’re doing? Less than an hour later I got a phone call I will never forget.
Due to rezoning I was forced to go to a high school where I knew only a handful of people. The first day of Freshmen year I walked into Home Economics to find a room filled with a bunch of girls and two guys. A chubby sweet-faced kid, named Sean, and a skinny straight-haired kid, named Corey. We made boxers that year. Who would have known that the kid who chose fabric with ping pong balls and paddles on it would one day become my husband?
It was Freshmen year of college that I learned that meaningful friendships, time away from what is comfortable and freedom from technology is what feeds the soul. There was one place we would all sneak away to probably a dozen times that year that left us all changed for the better forever.
When Corey and I first got married and moved to Memphis for him to start school I found a job in the newspaper as a nanny. I’ve never been treated so poorly by someone in all my life (lets just say Nanny Diaries hits a little too close to home). After my husband showed up and quit for me I learned that it’s okay to stick up for yourself. I also learned that you can raise a son in such a way that even when they’re married and living in a new city as a 22-year old they can be well-grounded, strong and independent if their parents raise them to be just that from the beginning.
I sat on a train once in Eastern Europe, looked out at miles of field and realized that the world is so much bigger and smaller than I ever realized.
I once met a man who told me over a turkey sandwich that I was scared. I of course asked him what I was scared of and he replied with words that changed my life forever (this is not an exaggeration).
I did not want to move to Cincinnati. I knew Corey loved it when he came to work here and I knew he wanted to be at a prestigious program, but I had zero desire to move above the Mason-Dixon. And, I hated it, too, even after we moved. Some of my darkest days have been spent in this city. Yet things have happened here that have now left me saying just last week, “I think this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”
These are the stories and moments I think about often because these are the moments and stories that define me. I’ve decided I want to to write about them in greater detail in the weeks to follow. I hope you enjoy reading and as always I enjoy hearing from you. If you don’t want to read my sometimes too-wordy posts I will not be the least bit offended. This online journal ultimately exists for me and my family. If any of you benefit from it then it’s simply icing on the cake.