Hidden Paths

“Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate

And though I oft have passed them by

A day will come at last when I

Shall take the hidden paths that run

West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

I grew up filled with wanderlust, dreams the size of the moon, and my imaginary bags packed for a life on the coast. There was nothing I felt like I couldn’t accomplish and, if you asked me then, I would’ve had no problem telling you that I was going to “be someone someday.” I’ve thought long and hard about that girl—retracing my steps, counting backwards, spinning in circles to find my own line of demarcation. Where did I leave those imaginary bags? At what point did the moon begin to feel so far away? When did taking risks begin to feel so unsafe?

College.

I bounced out of my dorm the first day of school my freshman year. Super short blonde hair, a pair of blue and white shorts, an oversized Guy Harvey t-shirt with some sort of fishing scene on the back, and a sparkling white North Face backpack. Welcome to 2008. I felt a sense of panic as I walked down the sidewalk to my first class. I regretted my outfit choice, my short hair, and even the decision to come to this school. This was not south Georgia…no one knew my name or my high school GPA. I was determined to just survive and make good grades so I could get the degree and move on. I truly loved learning and school, but I did not find college life very rewarding or inspiring. There were bright moments of adventure scattered here and there but, overall, the moon was beginning to disappear and the coast was too far of a drive. I swerved into the far right lane, cruise set at 55. Safe and sound and waving at cars passing me by.

Safe and sound. 

I’ve followed what many would consider a “golden path,” and I’ve had a successful career in the event world. I’ve worked hard, led teams, put on countless events. I’ve done everything you feel like you should do after college and as a young adult. I’ve always loved my work, and I never imagined a day when I would step away from my identity as a young, professional woman. Then, I became pregnant and everything about my life took on new meaning. Safe and sound suddenly didn’t feel so right.

Change is here. 

Today I swerved out of the right hand lane and took the car off cruise control. It was my last day in my full time professional role, and the beginning of a brand new chapter: The Mom Chapter. I’ve decided to stay home with our little one which, while it may seem perfectly normal to most, is a huge step in a new direction for me. My success will no longer be defined by the type of report I put together or the feedback I get on my work. My days will be filled with a new routine, new challenges, and new fears. I’ve cried and slobbered and joked about eating ham sandwiches for the next few years. Nothing about this feels safe to me, not financially and not in terms of knowing what is next. We are taking this step in true faith and looking to my main man Jesus for guidance. Sadly, it has been a very long time since I gave Jesus a chance to step in and completely guide me along his path. It’s time to give him back the show and allow him to guide me in a way like never before.

Dreaming Again. 

Tonight as I write, there is a gentle breeze blowing against my cheek and the sound of crickets getting ready to welcome the night. My heart feels open and ready for this next chapter. I feel excited to let go of control. Sure, it will not always be easy. There will be trials and things to walk through, but I know that he will always be with me just like so many years ago when I started college. I walked on that campus in 2008 and left many dreams behind. Today, I walked off that campus, almost ten years later, thankful for my journey but excited to open a new page. I’ve decided to take the hidden path that will fill my life with wanderlust, dreams the size of the moon, and my bags packed for a life on the coast. Only this time, I hope they’re not imaginary.

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