Holy Ground

“There comes a day in every man’s life when he decides the kind of man he’s gonna be. And if you don’t know the story, you don’t know the man.” — Frederik Backman

Years and years (and years!) ago, in what seemed like an act of pure lunacy I flew as far away as I could without leaving the country and I ended up here. There weren’t all the tenants of a blockbuster movie. It wasn’t the sex, drugs and rock n roll story which would likely be so much more interesting. By comparison, I was pretty vanilla. But I imagine rock bottom feels the same no matter how you get there, and I was a girl who was stuck on the bottom while my dreams ran amok above me. The thing about stuck people is that it becomes easy to stay that way. Not because you like it. Not because you don’t want something else. But because when your choices land you on something that feels like fly paper, flying away feels like an impossible, exhausting feat and you’re just not sure if the result would be worth the effort — or worse — make things worse! I believe that is why so many people never even try.

I thank God there was something in me that refused to believe that wasn’t it for me. Instead, there was a little voice who knew better and I gave that voice more attention and more attention and it got louder and louder each time I listened. “There’s more.” It kept saying. “This doesn’t have to be it for you.” But sometimes life is hard to see objectively when you’re so close to and caught up in it, and so I bought a ticket to San Francisco. I let the sea fog lick at my bare shoulders while I hiked along the coast line. I watched whales flip their fins in an ocean that seemed much more alive than my Floridian gulf waters. I rented a little cherry red convertible and drove back and forth across the Golden Gate bridge, music blasting and heart thumping, until I was mostly sure I’d figured things out.  Then I flew home and changed my life. (It really WAS that simple and yet so so hard.) It was indescribably rewarding to drive this bridge with my family–too many of us to fit into a little convertible– knowing none of them would be here if not for that girl in that car so long ago driving answers out of the San Francisco Bay with the wind in her hair and a hunger in her soul. I’ll write the whole story one day … but for now, I just want you to know you are never really stuck. You are never really unable to change your life no matter how daunting a task it may seem. And while it can’t hurt to change your scenery for the sake of adjusting your perspective, you already have everything you need right where you are, and wherever that is, will become sacred to you. For me, this is where it happened. This is the place where I grew up in exactly one day. This is the place I realized I was smart enough and tough enough and stubborn enough and good enough to take back my life. 

Wherever that happens for you, I encourage you to revisit it one day. Ten, twenty or seventy years later. Go there and look for that girl. See her in your mind’s eye, driving that car with the wind in her hair and that determination set in her jaw, and then you give her a solid thumbs up so she knows she’s on the right track. She’ll need to see you there, and you deserve to go back and see her too. Yes, to feel assured. Proud, maybe. But mostly to feel the spirituality of a full circle. It’s at that moment the person you were trying to be, meets the person you became. And whether it’s your front porch, the center of town, the top of a skyscraper or an iconic bridge … the birthplace of a life you built on the hard choices you made, becomes your own Holy Ground.

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