Have you ever had those moments where all of a sudden you realize just how much you’ve changed? It feels like only yesterday I moved back to Austin and yet over three months have passed. I’m nowhere close to the girl I used to be when I jumped in my car and drove those rather painful 24 hours home to be with my family and support my dad as he continues to battle cancer. I’m more compassionate, more patient, braver, and even more willing to be vulnerable.
One of my very dear friends just found out her dad has cancer and immediately contacted me. “Lex, what am I in for here?” My first response was that it’s the ultimate roller coaster ride. One day your loved one will feel great, and the next, it’s the exact opposite. Each day is a self-contained adventure, with yesterday not impacting today and today having absolutely nothing to do with tomorrow. Yet in spite of the fear and pain that come with the ambiguity of it all, there will be a moment where you are grateful for this bizarre and seemingly unfortunate earthquake shaking your entire world.
Because in the midst of this dark and scary disease, there are unfathomable parallels to life, epiphanies crammed into a pop quiz that leave your head spinning. Yes, we know that life is precious since we read it on Hallmark cards and hear it in passing. But how aware are we of the true fragility of life? When we are young, the entire world revolves around us and over the years, we realize that we are not the sun in this universe and characteristics like selflessness as well as humility replace our ego’s throne.
My coming home was a painful experience because change often yanks out our anchors of comfort. But when that lava cools from the explosive volcano, the earth calms her sweet soul like after an earth-quaking temper tantrum. That’s when we have a chance to start fresh. While there is often a lot of work required in rebuilding our pretty little lives, we are gifted with the opportunity to witness new terrain in the form of nutrient-rich soil perfect to replant our eager new seeds and reinvent who we are.
Waking up this past Wednesday morning, I started packing and realized I would be away for over a month traveling to New York, Spain, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and eventually back home to Austin. After having been still these past three months, I have found a sense of contentment I have never known. As it turns out, what I’ve been scrambling around searching for in the form of prestige, accolades, and fancy shindigs, I possessed the entire time. The peace we all so desperately yearn for rests quietly in the stillness of our hearts.
Needless to say, as I jump head first into my simultaneously familiar and foreign lifestyle, I don’t return the same globe-trotter. I have a richer sense of just who I am. I also have found a level of peace that transcends my previous capacity to view myself as one tiny splatter of fuchsia in the tapestry of our world’s kaleidoscope.
So yes, a month of travel awaits me, but I’ll be traveling with such different eyes this time around. I imagine that the world is now even more resplendent than before. My advice to everyone out there is to not be afraid to seek out challenge, welcome adversity, and revel in ambiguity because despite the painful process, the transformation is definitely worthwhile.
Images courtesy of Queenscarlett.com, H3daily.com