Otherwise known as : What I’ve Learned This Month // October Edition
” Brave doesn’t always involve grand gestures. Sometimes brave looks more like staying when you want to leave…
We’re addicted to big and sweeping and photo-ready – crossing oceans, changing it all, starting new things, dreams and visions and challenges, marathons and flights and ascending tall peaks.
But the rush to scarmble up onto platforms, to cross oceans, to be heard and seen and known sometimes comes at a cost, and sometimes the most beautiful things we do are invisible, unsexy.
We love broad strokes, cross-country moves, kickstarter campaigns…
… being brave is trusting that what my God is asking of me, what my family and community is asking from me, is totally different than what our culture says I could do.
Sometimes, brave looks boring, and that’s totally, absolutely, okay. ”
Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist
I’m a firm believer in the magic of October.
Gloriously rich autumn colors, the way the month number of 10 fits so well in front of things, the promise of fall electricity with the crisp breeze, the way it just feels so full. Creatively, I feel alive with words and ideas and songs, finding potential and wonder in every corner. The world shifts from vibrant life to a more gray haze. As it does sentiment hangs in the air and dances through my veins, saying hello to reminders of souvenirs and old memories, while fading to make way for the potential in the days ahead.
This October, October 2016, has been a month of wild, bucket list level moments, so spectacular in nature that you question whether this is even real.
For starters, I MET SWITCHFOOT (Post Concert Daze : The Day I Met Switchfoot). Literally one of the greatest things ever, as a human soul who has clung to the words, as a work-in-progress songwriter talking to my favorite songwriters. And on top of that I held it together long enough to express my gratitude for their songwriting to Jon Foreman. That concert, that atmosphere, that community singing out with everything the truths of those lyrics in each of our diverse stories : basically the best turn of events to start the month ever.
Second, I finally got to experience the glory of what fall looks like in the mountains (again), something I’d been hoping to do for a while. It also doubled as one of those kind of big college road trip experiences, the kind that creates stories you won’t soon forget. Oh, and it was to visit camp counselor friends, which is such a special and cool kind of friendship.
In addition to those larger scale moments, there’s been a richness in the little things. New music from so many good artists (OneRepublic, Brooke Fraser, Britt Nicole, and Andrew Belle). Reminders of what is important and time spent with people I love. Experiences and new adventures through my major. Finally working on this whole songwriting and music thing again, hoping to start intentionally creating, releasing little glimpses.
It’s also been a calendar page marked by deep hollowness, a pervading sense of brokenness, and the lost feeling in all the wandering. And so I’ve attempted to start changing the rhythms, to live it well one step and decision at a time (Changing Rhythms to Live the Life You’d Imagined). That has been an up and down attempt, but slowly things are shifting for the better. Future hopes and directions have been tangled up in a mess of heart v. head. I’ve struggled to pull myself out of my own head and dream state and engage in reality and community well. I’ve been fighting to uncover my creative voice as a writer and musician. There’s been a lot of growing up, and yet never enough.
Which leads to the quote that started off this story and post. I’m always searching for perspective when life gets crazy and overwhelming. When I read the quote by Shauna Niequist, from the book Present Over Perfect (seriously great, I highly recommend it) suddenly everything shifted.
I realized that what I’ve been learning this October, from literal mountain top highs to low moments, to every messy transition in between, is this : life is short and I need to, want to live it well. This means living each day brave, with every day requiring a kind of braveness that is steady. My heart loves the stunning, those moments she was talking about, the movie ready moments, the massive life changes. And I think part of the problem is learning how to live with the inbetween, the present.
Finding contentment in the fact of the matter that what God, my close circle of family and friends, and my community may most “need” from me is different than just jumping into grand visions and schemes. Right now, it is a brave consistency to what’s in front of me, the surroundings I enter daily, the steadiness, my presence and myself as it is now. And so that is where I am learning to dwell, to thrive there first, and dream and work towards other hopes second.
As I’ve learned this October, it may not be perfect, but it’s the best place to be.