Upon reflection I have realized that this is more of an addendum to my birthday post from December. That entire week was amazing, and I felt so blessed and loved! Based on several conversations that I had over the course of that week I became more and more convinced of one thing: that 28 is going to be a pivotal year for me. Great and amazing things are going to happen this year, I’m telling you!
Well, that Saturday when I met up with friends at Aroma Cafe for my awesome Tea Party, I had a sort of ‘out of body,’ displacement from reality, a step into that all too frequently referenced (in a cheesy way) realm of higher understanding, kind of moment. It is the type of experience that I have become somewhat accustomed to over the last year. In those moments, I hear a little whisper in my heart before my brain has formulated any sort of thought—and my mind jumps back for a second at this backwards mode of operation—and it is left to consider the new little ‘pearl of wisdom’ that my heart has brought to light.
This particular moment occurred towards the end of the night. People had been coming and going all evening—the restaurant was closing soon and a few more people trickled in to say a quick hello. I stepped away from the main table to go and greet the newcomers (I think it was Mark and Larry) and after showing them over where the group was sitting, I stepped back for a moment and everything around me got quiet. All the surrounding sounds of people laughing and scraping dishes faded into the background and I heard a still small voice, like Moses (or was it Elijah?). Almost like an internal whisper telling me a secret. I stood there and looked at the group of my friends who had assembled and I heard God say: “You will always have these people. No matter where you go or what you do. These relationships are more valuable than anything else you could ever own. Even if I had asked you to leave all your worldly possessions on the curb before you left to come to this party, the party would have gone exactly the same way. Because the people would still be the same.” Funny huh? In that moment the weight of that statement, the one many of us have repeated as definite ‘truth’ since we were young: that people and relationships are more important than possessions, finally sunk in. All the way to my bones. It was one of those moments when the truth of something that you’ve understood intellectually for a long while finally strikes you as reality and has an impact on the practical ways that you regard and live your life.
In those few seconds, something inside of me changed. My posture towards my life and what I am doing with it were altered in a way that I could almost physically feel. I had recently made the decision to work towards moving to Italy at some point in 2011, but in that moment, I felt the freedom to move–and I knew that I would be ok. I felt safe, secure and confident in my choice. More so than I have ever been about anything else in my life.
The fear was gone. That long hovering cloud that had influenced almost every decision and caused me to miss countless opportunities for most of my life just disintegrated and I felt so certain and peaceful. Of course, fear still tries to pop up hear and there, but instead of being the big, scary, black, ticking smoke monster, like on LOST, it’s a little black house fly trying to puff himself up to look bigger than he really is. And more than just a general relief from fear, one specific change I have noticed is that I no longer fear change. Suddenly, the idea that I don’t know where in Italy exactly I’m meant to go isn’t so daunting. The idea of just getting on a train and waiting for God to say, “Get off here,” doesn’t seem the least bit strange or scary (at least in theory).
Now things are different. I see these little progressive changes happening all the time. Little adjustments in how friendships work and how I understand people are occurring every day. Things that are so small, I wonder if the people around me, even the ones I’m closest to, notice; or if these are things that are just meant for me to see and treasure. Regardless, I am aware of them, and I have the sense that these small step by step alterations will make these relationships easier to continue across large distances and multiple time zones. Work schedules changing and Skyping more than having face to face couch time. I see space being made in my heart for the new people I will meet: the people who will in no way diminish or replace the friends that I have now—but instead push the boundaries of who I am and the kinds and number of people I thought would have a place of weight in my life. And I see space being made for new people in the lives of my friends around me—and that is exciting. Like I’m part of a big secret surprise that will gradually unfold until, one day, we are all connected together. The spaces built between us have not served to separate us, but rather to make more room for others to experience the type of family that we have. (I know, I know, I should be hugging myself and singing “We are the World” or something right now…) In all these things I see the external change reflecting what I am feeling inside. I am being uprooted to be replanted elsewhere.
The thoughts and feelings I have grown and spread deep down into the groundwork of the city around me are being re-absorbed back into my person and I realize that LA is not my home. Not anymore. Which is a very strange thing for me to say since I have always felt like LA was my home (even from the time I moved away up to Seattle at age 5). Now Italy is my home. At least for this season. And although I may not physically be standing on Italian soil, I know that doors are being opened, hearts prepared and preparations are being made for my arrival. The changes that I see coming (and those I don’t) are no longer frightening porters of uncertainty, but rather a doorway for the start a great adventure! An intriguing and exhilarating adventure that warms up my insides from the soles of my feet to the ends of my hair follicles. And I can’t wait!