The tortillas are hot and the guacamole radiates lime and onion as everyone at the table (in at least four different languages: English, Spanish, Dutch or Portuguese) inquires and answers about the day’s recent unfolding. I look around at these people sitting around one table. A family of five hearts I have come to love as if I’ve known them my whole life. A girl a little older than me who is from my home country, the Netherlands, with the accent and poise to match. A married couple from South America who met in the Netherlands and abandoned anything resembling a home to now traveling the world together. I look at these people, who only two weeks ago a few were strangers to me, and I can’t imagine my life not having spent this time with them. We didn’t really go through a lot together. No, for the most part, we truly only shared meals three times a day. All the same, after celebrating Diana’s 30th birthday with cakes and songs, after quietly drinking coffee early in the morning with swollen eyes, after sharing the same dysfunctional toilet, and after making this random household in Antigua our home – it saddens me to leave this place in two days to continue adventuring in Guatemala.
The coast is calling and beckoning me to make a home there for the next few weeks. And while I am truly excited for the unknown, I think of Telma – who runs this household, not only taking care of her own large family, but then spoiling us houseguests as only a grandma-figure can. And I pray, pray, pray that through my growing Spanish that she understands how thankful I am for her, for the time she’s worked in the kitchen to prepare expectation-exceeding Guatemalan meals everyday, for her kind conversation, for her smile, for her heart. I think of this house of clay, tile, and corrugated steal roof panels – how distant it felt walking in for the first time, and now how much I’ll miss my bed’s corner, I’ll miss playing my guitar on the roof, I’ll miss hearing the rain dance carelessly on the tin outside. Home.
For the first time in my entire life, I do not crave comfort or security. They are simply not things I desire or want for my life during this season. After eradicating every idea I had of who I was and what I wanted, God is showing me how this girl – originally a homebody, a planner, a comfort-seeker – can truly make a home wherever He leads her. And it’s so freeing. To think I am excited to go to this new home on the coast, of which I know nothing about – a month ago that would be truly inconceivable. Preconceived notions are not promises or definitions or destinations. They are chapters, only a part of the story. A great, grand, beautiful story that far surpasses anything scribbled in a book, anything desired in a heart. And I come back to this over and over again: it is all grace, it is all His generosity. His pure generosity – I will never know the depths of it. That He should honor me so much to pull me into the light and dance with me. That He should bend to reach for me – through the stench and the clouding of my sin, He does not hesitate – and lift me from despair and into unquenchable joy. There is so much joy, I can hardly think and it massacres my grammar, but I don’t care because it’s joy.
Please know, this great, grand, story is for you, too. The pain, hopelessness or sadness you feel are irrelevant, not even factors, not even indicators of your future. There is always more light, more love, more hope and peace. Let today be the last day you allow something that keeps you from the beautiful life He is dreaming for you. Do not hold onto that struggle, that distraction, that him, that her, or that fear out of a desire to avoid depression or anxiety. If you have to experience insecurity or loneliness for a while to reach that beautiful life – so be it. Don’t be afraid of it.
“I think you deserve something beautiful,” He whispers, “let’s make room for the new.”
Open up your life so that your future can be filled with surprises yet to come.
I cried on the eve of my 5th birthday. Balled, actually. I was told upon turning five one is expected to go to school all day and carry more responsibility. That was all so very vague to me; therefore, I was terrified of turning five and cried in my mom’s arms. Needless to say, if I can go from being paralyzed by the unknown (as I have cried about it once or twice in the last 15 years) to excitingly making room for the new – everyone can.
Except for maybe Ireland, I’ve never taken to a new place as quickly as I have to Antigua: the ruins, the colors, the coffee shops, the markets, the hospitality and the garden courtyards. This is a new ability for me – to embrace and absorb and thrive off of that. It’s been fun and good, truly good – but this free woman’s heart is happily beating for the new, the unknown adventure ahead. Who would have thought? (;
Some more Instagram snapshots: