Learning to tie my shoes

"I hope you find your bliss." That was the last thing he said as I reached up to grab my bag and exit the plane.

He was a teacher, busy grading papers, who apologized for taking up space on the armrest.  I was too engulfed in my book to notice his arm, but I thanked him for being so considerate, and told him I didn't mind.

Then he asked me the question.

The question I find really difficult to answer at the moment, "So, what do you do?"  I stuttered and stammered over my answer.

I explained that I had a job, currently I'm looking, I moved because I got married, and now I am searching.  I had thought bubbles all over the place [that's what I call those many things in my brain that bounce around and don't often sit still - thought bubbles].

He seemed a little confused with my answer [I would be too] and asked, "Well, what do you want to do?"

I told him there are things, things I really want to do, I just can't fully articulate those yet.

What I really wanted to tell him was that on my best days I trust in God's plan, that there is a deep, overwhelming peace within my heart that knows I am exactly where I need to be in this point of time, that He'll make known the steps to take.

But then there are other days, when it feels like I'm a part of a race,  where everyone is running really fast, in really cute work-out clothes, and I'm still learning how to tie my shoes.

I watch runners whiz past, runners that don't seem to tire or sweat or cramp up. Runners that see the finish line, the destination in full view, and know just what they've got to do to get there, like they're following a strict training plan.

And then there is me.  Wondering how they do it, how they can run so fast with passion and purpose and intention // all. the. time.

Every once in a while though, a runner will stop [bless their heart] and help me with my shoes.  They'll get down real close and share with me that learning to tie there shoes didn't come easy for them either.

They tell me running is a practice, something that doesn't always feel good, something that, yes, get's easier each day as the body learns new motions and rhythms, but it's a choice, a choice to try and practice and keep going even when you're sore.

Some days, they say, they aren't even sure if they're headed in the right direction. They're grateful for where they are, they know it's by no mistake, but feel it might be time to pick a new direction.

I'm incredibly thankful for these runners.  I want to remember to be like this // a person who stops to hear the story of another, no matter how busy or important their to-do list might be, they choose to be still and encourage someone who might really need it.

Because you see, we live in a world of really beautiful photos, interesting updates and likes.   I am totally and completely a part of this world. And in so many ways, it's an incredible opportunity to connect and encourage and empower.  At it's best, you can be someones biggest fan.  And I love that, I really do.

But I think, what gets lost sometimes, are the lessons learned, the blisters and bruises - the broken pieces of a really beautiful puzzle.

Don't we need both, the beauty and the broken?

Because even in the most exciting, freeing, thrilling times of life, there can be pain and discomfort and heartache.

Even when it appears we have it all, aren't there parts of us aching for more, wondering what we're missing?

I think that's what makes life so interesting and full of hope.

So, I decided to write my own training plan.  A plan that keeps my eyes fixed on what's important - the here and now, the beauty and the broken.

1. Wake up to see the sunrise.  Let the whole sky wrap it's arms around you and take a deep breath and let it go - all the stress, all the worry, all the things you forgot to do today and just thank God for this moment.

2. Write a thank you card.  A good, old fashioned, no tweet or text, thank you card.  It can be for a really dear friend or someone you barely know. Just write down why they matter, why they count, why you're glad that of all the people in this world you could know and love - you know them.

3. Use your hands // plant a few flowers, bake a pie, sketch a picture.

4. Welcome someone into your space.  If that's inviting someone out for coffee - lovely.  If it's ordering carry-out and sitting on the floor in your apartment - awesome.  If it's cooking a lavish meal for a group with a table covered in flowers and pretty things in jars and candles - you go [can I come?].

5. Write a list of all the things you want to learn and do and accomplish.  Circle the ones that you want most right now.  Get out your calendar and pencil in when you will make time for those things.

6. If you don't know your neighbors yet, introduce yourself.  And if you do, invite them over for dinner.  And if it's just plain awkward and you don't know where to begin, pretend you need a cup of sugar.

7. Have a dance party in your kitchen.

8. Do something all by yourself because it's easier to make time for everybody else.  Sometimes, we forget to be our own friend.

9. Switch things up.  Go for a walk down a new street.  Instead of oats for breakfast, scramble an egg and top it with avocado.  A little change of routine can make even the most ordinary, something worth jumping for joy about.

10. Repeat & be kind to yourself.  If you check all the boxes on this list, great.  If you don't, that's just fine too.

This list can be done in any season.  It's a list that can be repeated, over and over again or thrown away and made new.   A list that maintains value and importance to me, when things are falling right into place or on the days I'm still learning to tie my shoes.