Visionary, planner, learner – these are not characteristics that I ever set out to build into my life. As far as I know, they have always been a part of that person that is uniquely me. Because I am always interested in learning new things, I don’t learn much about anything. I’m one of those jack-of-all trades, master of none sorts. I could probably talk to anyone about anything for five to ten minutes and sound somewhat knowledgeable (except for maybe taxidermy), but as soon as we hit that ten minute mark, it’s obvious to the expert on the other end of the conversation that I should probably transition to a new topic of interest.
My mom bought me my first planner at a very young age. Five, I think. She would write in the daily activities for me to read, because I wanted so badly to know how to structure my little girl day that I would ask her incessantly about what was coming next. Unlike the traits listed above, flexibility and availability are qualities that I highly value, but have had to take pain-staking measures to incorporate into my person and still struggle apply in day-to-day situations. I seriously have to write “free time” into my calendar like a seventh grader at summer camp to make sure that I don’t book every hour of every day.
I truly believe that one life can change the world, and I believe that every life makes a significant impact on it. I can usually see problems coming before they happen, and I have pictures in the various corners of my mind of how the world can be better. I feel like it’s my responsibility to make that better-ness happen and I try to plan how I can take some sort of quantifiable or measureable action to move us toward this slightly more heavenly place. When I was a little girl, I strategically placed kitchen bowls along the sidewalk outside our house to collect rainwater to bathe in because I was sure that rainwater was more natural than the water that came out of our house faucets so only it could make my dry skin softer and my hair glisten and flow like a fairy’s. I hope that my current aspirations and strategies aren’t quite as naïve, but I also never want to be the girl that C.S. Lewis describes as one that insists on making mud pies in the slums when a holiday is offered for her at sea – far too easily pleased.
I have few constants in my life, among them are change, love, and grace, but about 8 years ago, I added a new one. It was a vision. A dream that has stuck by my side and directed my education for almost a decade. I’ve had these years to refine it and plan my points of action, so this sucker is specific: a faith-based multi-dimensional residential therapy center for troubled youth. In times of transition, grief, and joy, it has remained in my heart as the way I will make my mark, serve my Lord, leave my significant impact. I’ve attacked this thing head on, aggressively pursued internships, purposefully built a network of supporters, maintained memberships in professional organizations and more. It sounds more serious and noble…more admirable than washing my hair with rainwater. But the little girl with her naivety and kitchen bowls filled with magic liquid is still with me.
I didn’t count on being a different person at 25 than I was at 16. I didn’t plan on working in the job that I have, and loving it. My sweet, little boy was a few more years down the road in my mind’s list of action points. My husband and I hardly knew each other 8 years ago. But if someone would have told me all this, I don’t think I would have listened, and I’m glad that I didn’t. As a learner, these eight years have taught me so much, and I know that they have not been in vain! I have also learned in the past few months that I need to take my dream, part of my internal consistency and stability, back to the drawing board. It doesn’t change my life calling of healing emotional pain and developing potential, but it might alter my method of achieving it. My heart does grieve this loss, but my mind is excited about what God will teach me through this process. His love and grace are constants that will not change and give me a rock to stand on through those things that do.
So…if you happen to see a girl walking around with a planner and kitchen bowl filled with some water and a couple twigs. Give her a hug and tell her hair looks especially fairy-like today.