Hold On

“I know what I have to do now. And, I keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” – Cast Away (Tom Hanks)

There are still some days I wonder how the hell I got here, how I made it at all. I think if you were to sit and make a list and really tally it all up, you would be shocked that I ever made it to my 21st birthday.

And yet somehow, in spite of all my self-destructive behavior and my bad decisions and my blatant attempts to put an end to my own misery, I survived. My friends and family clung to me and refused to let me go. My heart kept beating. I kept breathing in and out. And life kept moving me forward, pushing me toward something I could neither see nor understand.

Pain is a funny thing. It grabs hold of you. It seeps into your pores and spreads like cancer, burrowing so deeply into your soul that you forget what life was like without it.

I spent a lot of years swallowing my pain, burying it deep. Like many people, I fooled myself into thinking that I could hide it, keep it locked inside and forget about it. The thing about pain is, it always finds its way out. Sooner or later, it always comes bubbling to the surface.

You can’t ignore pain. You can’t fight it. You can’t wish it or medicate it away. It took years for me to figure that out, and I was nearly destroyed (more than once) in the process. The only way to find relief from the pain you carry is to confront it, head on, to stand up to it, face it, embrace it, and let it go.

Pain is shortsighted. It blinds you from seeing anything beyond it. It blurs the bigger picture. And the hardest thing to realize when you’re caught up in it, is that pain is temporary. It won’t last forever. It can’t rain all the time. Wait long enough and the sun will return.

Hold on. Because someday, you’re going to see the bigger picture, and it’s going to take your breath away.

Here’s a glimpse I got of mine…

Yeah, that was worth waiting for. 🙂

365 Project – Day 294 – The Waiting is the Hardest Part

God bless Tom Petty. He knew what he was talking about. The waiting really is the hardest part.

Since moving to Nebraska this past December, Steven and I have been looking for a house. Of course, we knew we couldn’t afford to buy one right away. Moving is a big expense, and it takes time to get settled and figure out a budget and save up some money in a new place. But we were determined because, let’s face it, after owning your own home, it’s hard to go back to being a renter.

It’s the little things about renting that drive me up a wall, things like not being able to install a doggy door when your dog is obsessed with going outside 55 times a day to chase squirrels and rabbits in the yard. Or having to call your landlord because your basement flooded (three times), and then having to wait two days for him to come over and assess the damage and try to fix the problem. Sure these things can be a bit of a headache when you’re a homeowner, but at least they’re your headache and you can deal with them on your own terms without having to wait for someone else.

So, we decided to take the plunge.

After spending the past 10 months looking at hundreds of houses (and that is no exaggeration, just ask my poor tired husband ).

In that time, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly along the way, we finally found the one place that just feels like home. So, this morning, we put an offer in on the house.

And now…we wait…

Ugh! I hate waiting.

Wish us luck!

365 Project – Day 237 – Stones in the Road

These past few weeks, I’ve been working on finishing up the photos from my first senior photo session with the daughter of one of my best friends.

It’s been something of a surreal experience to say the least.

See, I’ve known Katie since she was three, and I was just a high school student myself. It doesn’t seem quite possible that she will be graduating this year. I mean, I know I just celebrated a birthday, but that doesn’t mean that I actually believe that I’m 31. It’s one of those things that I tacitly acknowledged, yet it hasn’t quite sunk in just yet, you know?

See, time is a funny thing. When you’re a child, the days are endless. Hours tick by at a maddeningly slow pace. And it always seems like you’re waiting for something. Waiting to be older. Waiting to grow taller. Waiting for your next birthday. Waiting for Mom to give you permission to spend the night at your friend’s house. Waiting to be chosen for the team. Waiting to get your learner’s permit and your driver’s licence. Waiting to graduate. Waiting to leave home and go to college. Waiting for that 21st birthday to roll around so you can finally go to the bar and have your first legal drink. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

But then, something happens. Some night, while you’re sleeping, some unseen force hits the Fast Forward button on your life. Days and weeks and months begin to blur together. And, instead of waiting, you find yourself chasing time like you once had to chase the cross town bus, waving desperately and praying that the driver will see you and slow down. Birthdays and holidays sneak up and fly by faster than you can acknowledge them.

At the risk of sounding cliche, it really does seem like only yesterday that I was graduating myself. Maybe it was just all the time I spent working on Katie’s photos these past few weeks, but the past thirteen years really have flown by. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just a wide-eyed graduate, leaving everything and everyone I knew behind to hop a plane to New York to pursue my dreams. I felt like I had already come so far, and I had no idea all the things that were yet to come.

It has been a long road for me to get here to this moment, a road full of obstacles and stumbling blocks and steep uphill climbs, yet I honestly wouldn’t trade one step of it. There has been love and laughter, joy and heartache, absolute frustration and utter devastation. There have been moments that took my breath away, moments I’m not so proud of, moments I will never forget and plenty of mistakes made along the way, but in the end, the sum of it has only shaped me and made me stronger. Like a carefully crafted chunk of clay, I had to endure the fire or risk being irreparably broken.

I don’t believe in coincidence, nor do I believe that every event in our lives is carefully choreographed and set in stone. What I do believe is that we come to this Earth with some ultimate goal, and that we are presented with options and choices that can help us get there. The choices that we make in those moments ultimately shape our futures, and we must learn to choose wisely or suffer the consequences. Life tends to get confusing and chaotic when we stray too far from our paths, but one thing I have learned is that there are always signs and guideposts to help us get back to where we need to be, if only we pay attention. And I like to think that, these days, I am a whole lot better at paying attention.

Tonight’s 365 Project is dedicated to the roads we travel, and to the amazing people we encounter along the way.

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