I’m looking for a girl.
Twenty-two, likes to run, short brown hair that she’s trying to grow out?
Probably carrying a backpack with sand at the bottom whose source she’s unsure of. Maybe Kenya. Maybe Haiti. Maybe the volley ball pit where she sits on the side and assures her beckoning college friends of their good fortune in not having her on their team.
Painter. Song-writer. Champion for the orphan…I believe is what she’s going by these days.
Well…if you see her, tell her I’m looking for her…
Tell her she can reach me at my home that’s in a neighborhood I’ve been in for almost seven years. I know. It’ll surprise her that I didn’t cave to the itch of moving to Nashville or Austin or India.
You can tell her that I did end up making 13 trips to Haiti, though I’m sure she’ll be a bit sad to know I haven’t been back in almost five years. In fact, my passport hasn’t been renewed with my new last name since I got married 4 years ago…that very full passport I carried around like a trophy. Tell her I met a guy she doesn’t know yet, and he’s become my favorite person. And that we made our favorite little person whose pretty great as well.
Tell her that we did go on to start that ministry house though; and we poured ourselves into it for five solid years. She’ll be proud and excited and relieved, I think. But please let her know that it’s not really around anymore for lots of reasons that are ok.
Sure, you can tell her that I still play music…ish…every few months in our living room when I want to make sure I remember how. And I write lyrics in my car when I’m by myself, which isn’t always a ton these days. She and I will still have lots to talk about when it comes to orphans and family and home. But my content looks more like sitting on our porch with neighbor kids and cutting up peanut butter toast for my own son these days.
I’m a director for a community arts program. Yes in the states. In the our neighborhood, even. It mixes faith and art and community outreach in a manner that she’s hoping grad school will teach her how to do. It’s fulfilling and creative in ways I didn’t know I needed. It’s good work that isn’t killing me. And it leaves me with more of me to give, which has turned out to be one of the best qualities of a job thus far.
I’m writing some. In a few places but mostly on a mom blog, yes. Which will sound different to her than what it is–an outlet, a community, a thing to dream about and be present in that reflects my life season. I’m cooking and cleaning a lot too. I manage payrolls and water ferns and Google places we could fly to next, when we save for it, if we save for it.
I feel rich and deeply alive and tired. I ask if I’m contributing what I’m supposed to be contributing to the world A LOT and know less about my purpose and passions than I did 6 years ago.
I know less.
I feel full of contentment like when warm laundry is dumped on you, and simultaneously antsy about whether or not this is a season of pruning or just life now. If it is just life, it’s a good one, right? Albeit, a bit different than I thought it would be.
I chase thought trails of who I am and what I am to do, to give, to become. Some of the compulsion is zeal and most of it vanity for the notion of celebrity that I watch happen on social media. I ask if my life is a big enough life, and I ask even more now in motherhood. But then he reaches for my hand that he knows will be there as he steps off the curb at the coffee shop, and I wonder how I can ever ask if this is a big enough life.
So clarity of purpose is not something I have right now, not like I used to. But I do know I can be love. And kindness. And home, if nothing else. I can be willing, and passionate, and available.
I can embrace a life without margins as the season of growth that it is–like early postpartum and job transitions. And I can embrace a life with new beautiful margins as a blessing not needed to be immediately filled.
So anyway, tell her I’m looking, if you see her. I just want to give her a hug and put a note in her hand that says different doesn’t have to mean bad or scary. She’ll need this for multiple panicked occasions.
Even and especially for the times over the next decade that she’ll encounter questions of identity and direction that she thought wouldn’t be her monster to grapple with.
I want to tell her not to fight living in the tension of questions and searching and longing. That’s the marrow; those are the good parts. I’ll tell her not to rush out of wander just to resolve what is uncomfortable, just to put titles and purposes to times that are just a little more complicated than that.
A woman. Twenty-nine, used to run but busted her knee in a half marathon that she’s still surprised she finished, short brown hair that she grew out and chopped off and is trying to grow out again, maybe.
I’ll probably be carrying around a backpack with a couple of diapers, a planner, and an idea journal in it. Mama, creative, friend and 80 other things that I go by these days that do and don’t define me.