Today, for the first time in I couldn’t tell you how long, I left my house on a Saturday. Not to go somewhere or do errands or meet someone, I left my house with my ipad and journal to go sit at a coffee shop.And I was walking in the crisp, bright, winter air I looked at the downtown skyline which has become one of my favorite views- the mountains created a back drop to the herald sign, the red museum creating a stark contrast to the blue skies. Beauty in unexpected things. It reminds me of the beauty I found in Beira, Mozambique when we had to live in the city, or the beauty of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Finding beauty where your feet are.
But, as I was contemplating that I was hit with a thought that welled up some tears in my eyes and caused my heart to race. So here it is:
To my people in Bellingham:
Growing up,my mother’s kitchen table always had Diet Coke, at least two remotes, some form of baked good and a hodgepodge of people. The doorway of our house was crossed by humans from lots of different walks of life, ages, journeys, people in the highs and lows.
It’s part of the reason why I love inviting people over and meeting people where they are at. And I think it’s why I’ve always had and been comfortable in so many different groups of people. And why I am friends with a handful of people I’ve never actual met or have only known in person one or two weeks of my life.
But I believe I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you people, those I interact with on AT LEAST a weekly basis (if not daily) here in Bellingham are the most eclectic group of humans I’ve ever encountered.
And man do I love you guys.
And what’s funny is that I only interact with people here that are somehow connected to one of two places: The Y or A Life. My job and my church.
But what a difference it’s made.
The realization I had, the thing that finally hit my heart even though the knowledge has always been there, even though it’s a truth I love to remind people of, is that knowing all of you guys, specifically in this time in my life has caused me to know more of who I am then I ever thought possible.
As I said, that tidbit was in my brain, the knowledge was there. Every conversation, interactions, the laughter, the tears, all those things stored together from people have been building blocks. It’s normally not something you truly realize until you are in a high emotions situation or a situation when you are around the same people day in and out where you begin to realize bits and pieces of yourself through them.
You guys have been the most wonderful piece of self discovery.
Because of everyone of you I’ve not only learned more of who I am, but more of who I want to be.
And I believe every time I said I wanted to run it was because all of the things I was learning and feeling and desiring were becoming far too big for the life I had been living. All the ugly surfacing were dreams and desires and hopes I had buried long ago for fear of getting hurt.
Before I moved here, I would, here and there, struggle with comparison and jealousy and loneliness and lack of identity, but the last year and a half all of those things have been stirred up, multiplied and fleshed out.
And that has made me want to run.
But not you guys.
Everyone of you has kept my feet planted.
Because I think, I believe, I know, that there are aspects in each and everyone of you that have caused me to want more, desire more, be more.
That all became too big for my heart.
You guys believed in me when I didn’t think I had anything to believe in.
You chose more for me when I thought I was done with more.
What a beautiful thing.
And it causes me to think of the people I had and still very much have before here, that encouraged me to get to this place, and the people before that and that.
My life journey is filled with people. Beautiful, lovely, whimsical human beings from all places and countries and backgrounds.
My desire in life is to be so wholly myself that it causes others to see more of who they are.
And Bellingham has been a shocking, surprising, not always welcome huge step towards this very thing.
Bellingfamily and Yfamily and all those connected to the two, I need you to know that I’ve never wanted to run from you. I’ve wanted to run from the life that was getting too beautifully big for the box I had. I wanted to run from the emotions that all of that was bringing up that I’d gotten supremely used to ignoring.
But you? Never you.
Find people. Find multiple groups of people. Find people you agree with. Find people you disagree with. People who live life differently then you and those who walk the same road. Find people who worship the same and find those who believe differently. Sit across tables from them, break bread them, clink glasses with them. Laugh with them.
And learn, even if it’s just for a night.
Learn who they are, where they come from, how they make a sandwich.
And when you wake up, I guarantee you will have found more of yourself.
In the similarities, the differences and the universal truths.
Let’s choose, daily, to bring the people around us to more of who they are.