It's amazing to me the lessons that a year can teach you, or better yet, the radical changes that can occur in one's life in just 365 days. I've come to discover that no matter the circumstance you find yourself in, that everyday, all 365, in sunshine and sorrow, you have to find joy in the journey. As we've now reached our one year mark away from home and stationed here in Colorado I've found myself reflecting on the life changing lessons that this journey has taught me thus far. These five lessons have taught me where my heart, my loyalties, and my head lie. Some lessons have been downright heartbreaking to face while others have liberated parts of my soul. I hope that these five lessons I've learned on this journey can help enrich and enlighten you on yours.
Lesson 1: " Family is not an important thing, it's EVERYTHING."
If you'd asked me a year ago, sure, I would've said family was important to me. I always attended family gatherings, sometimes with an obligatory smile but I was present nonetheless. As much as I loved all of the members of my family, sadly, I can't say that I cherished the time we spent together. To give myself some credit I had been spoiled. I come from a very close family where nearly every member lived within driving distance. Seeing them regularly was completely normal and in fact, expected. Then I left our very close knit nest. If you ask me today if family is an important thing, I would explain to you that family is truly EVERYTHING! I crave Grandma's spaghetti dinners, or catching up with the latest happenings in my cousins lives. I miss my aunts and uncles doting over E and ache when I think that our new baby,Si, will be nearly 3 months old before he's spoiled rotten. I miss the swing set E played with in my mom's backyard where she'd push him countless times and grieve over the truth that Si won't have the same. You see, here in Colorado family is all I have and it's all that I miss. My husband and my boys are my world here and creating a life here with them makes me miss the family we left behind even more. If you have people that you are lucky enough to call your family, then you are blessed beyond measure. Take it from me, cherish even the small and sometimes annoying family moments, you don't know how important it all is until it's gone.
Lesson 2: Friendships change and that's okay
Until now, I've always lived in the same small town. When you're from a small town you find yourself surrounded by the same people for what seems like forever. Friendships last a lifetime and grudges last even longer. Military life is absolutely opposite. Every friendship is temporary. Some friends you really connect with, they get to know the real you, so you keep connected. Others make presumptions, feed off and create drama, and leave with opinions of you that couldn't be farther from the truth. Facing the reality of "disposable" friendships broke my heart. But then I came to realize that friendship isn't everything. Once upon a time it would've devastated me to think that I'd ever utter such words but I've come to realize that even lifelong friendships from back home change just as people do, and that's okay. People are meant to meet a need in our lives, teach us a lesson, or help us grow for a season and when that season is over it's time to hang on to the memories and move on.
Lesson 3&4: Faith and Fear can't abide in the same heart
Moving here was a huge leap of faith. In a matter of a week we packed up all of our belongings, left the place we knew as home, and trekked across the United States toward Colorado with no idea where we'd call home. Throughout the entire cross journey I found myself surprisingly full of faith, and my faith was rewarded with a beautiful rental home in a good area, our needs were met, and our hearts were full of joy. But then shortly after we arrived our faith was tested in a way I never could've imagined and I crumbled, I was consumed by fear. Things were dark, my heart was heavy, and we all lived consumed by what might be. By living in fear, I had been telling my God that he wasn't as big as my fears, that I wasn't important enough to worry Him with the troubles of my heart, and that I doubted His mercy and His will for my life. But then one day I was blessed with a rainbow, a reminder that my God is ever faithful, He's bigger than my biggest fear, and He can take the storm in my soul and make it something beautiful. I learned that day that fear and faith can't abide in the same heart, the same soul, or the same mind. I still struggle everyday, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my Maker has it under control. When storm clouds roll our way, I'm going to stand on the side of faith.
Lesson 5: Focus on what REALLY matters
It's really easy to get caught up in other people's drama when your day to day existence is between your own front and back door. People love drama and gossip and like it even better when they have someone else to share it with. I unintentionally got caught up in people's lives, and people's business that wasn't mine to be caught up in, or even to have known about in the first place. The knowledge I had was embarrassing, and cruel, and shared with me behind people's backs. The intention was cruel and I needed to get away, so I did. I began to separate myself and put my focus and energy where it should've been all along, with those I loved most. When you focus on your own family and your own life things simply feel light. Carrying and sharing the burdens of others is draining and inappropriate. Focus your mind, your heart, and your head with what you want to be filled with. I chose to be filled with the things that brought me joy.
This has been one epic journey. It's been filled with joy, sorrow, regrets, and things I wouldn't change for the world. It's made my marriage stronger, some friendships weaker, my family larger, and my eyes open to a world I never would've known otherwise. But you know what, I wouldn't change any of it for the world. I've learned so much and I know that the lessons are only just beginning. Happy Friday friends! I hope these 5 lessons help you wherever your journey may lead.