On this day in 2019 I put Rosie Jo in her carrier and we began our descend to Charlotte. I will never forget the tightness in my chest, the fear, the excitement, the genuine realization of the unknown... Yet there I was seated in a car I had only driven for three days and set out for the biggest move of my life.
It was so hot, I mean A.C. on full blast, had to remove all blankets from the cat carrier hot. In my head all I kept repeating is, "You have to get to your apartment then you can break down, you have to push through until you arrive." So for the next 6ish hours that is exactly what I did. I pushed down every emotion, every thought and became completely numb to what was going on around me. I kept blaming all of my anxiety on moving the cat but in reality I was scared to death and may or may not have regretting the decision to move. My adventurous spirit was coming back to haunt me.
Arriving at my apartment complex, I met Steve (Oh Steve). Between my inability to function due to 6 hours of avoiding and my dearest Aunt grilling him with questions, we were a HOT mess (both literally and physically). Looking back now, I can laugh but in the moment I was horrified. All I kept thinking during this 10 minute process was I hope that cat doesn't pass away due to the intolerable heat. Anyways, after receiving my keys... We drove to find the complex. I carried Rosie Jo up two flights of stairs, placed her in my closet, and began to set up her living space. After I knew she was settled and my parents had arrived with the U-Haul, I felt every emotion, every thought, every unexplainable feeling come raging upward and the next thing you know I was weeping in my "dining room." I allowed myself to feel for just a moment and then sucked up my snot, dried my tears, and began the trip up and down the stairs... over, and over, and over again. Between every step and the amount of uncomfort my poor cat was in, I had to keep going back into the numbing state of all mental and emotional attributes. Even now, as a recount the activity of a year ago it makes me cringe. Looking back, the Queen City was not supposed to happen; however, God uses the scariest and most uneasy experiences to teach you of His character and bring you closer to Himself.
Then came the day everyone left... then the first day of training... then the first day of work... then the first friend... then the first grocery store trip... then the first hysterical cry... then the first panic attack... then the first suicidal thought... then the first lonely night... then the first time I felt God's presence engulf me... then the first time I reached out for medical help... then the first time I realized half of my job, I moved 6 hours away from home for, was to clean equipment... then my first "adult" crush... then more friends... more memories... and entirely too much personal growth for one person to manage in a single year. And now here I am, making plans to go back to my small town.
It is truly incredible how life can come full circle. For years I ran away from myself, my hometown, family issues, past friends and bitterness, only to be pushed right back into all the things I have been avoiding for years. Running from the one thing I was meant to be. A small town girl. It has been YEARS of me telling myself I want a penthouse in NYC and now all I can think of having is a wrap around porch, a rocking chair, and a hot cup of coffee.
I share all of this to challenge your thought life, your dreams. Looking back I don't ever remember praying about whether or not I belonged in a city or not but rather prayed God would give me the desires of MY heart, not His. Sometimes God will give you exactly what you want in order to make you realize it isn't what you're supposed to have. Even now as I pen those words, my soul is hurting. I have been so numb to the truth for years that it is hard to accept and swallow. Everyone keeps asking me what my new adventure is or my new goals. It took me from Poughkeepsie to California to Charlotte to realize that God will continue to bring me back to me hometown until I accomplish everything I am meant to there. God is not limited to where we are placed. He would rather us accomplish His work in the oddest of places so that He can receive all of the glory. So to answer the question, I will no longer be planning or setting myself into dreams that are not meant for me, but rather waking up each day to see what God has for me, here and now. To learn to be bold and courageous in WV. To confront my past so that is will not hinder the present and future. I refuse to run away any longer. I refuse to continue to be numb. So to simplify the answer, I'm not going anywhere but here.
Now I urge you to examine your heart and mind. Are you pushing down emotions and numbing yourself? Are you running away? Do you need to learn to be content in the present? Is humbling yourself and seeking help your next step? Is God calling you to not have a next step? Whatever the question or answer, don't be stubborn like me, just listen and obey with JOY.