(30 Days of Truth – Day 1 – Something you’re looking forward to this year)
When I was a little girl living in a small Alabama town, I dreamed of someday leaving that existence to become a missionary doctor. I wanted to go to Africa to heal and save people. It was such a grand yet simple childhood dream, but it’s all I ever wanted and it’s all I ever talked about. It was my destiny and I knew this because God told me this was His plan for me. I had the grades and I had the faith. Why would I have ever thought this would not be my future?
Then I started middle school and discovered boys. That was pretty much the end of that dream. My grades were never again important to me and, sadly, neither was my faith. Both became somewhat of a bother. I dreamed less of being extraordinary and concerned myself more with my budding social life.
My grandiose dreaming did not stop there, however. In high school, I found a new dream that didn’t require good grades or faith in God. It only required some creative ability and the gumption to make it happen. I decided I wanted to be a world famous, NYC boutique owning, movie star styling fashion designer and merchandiser. I planned to attend The Art Institute of Atlanta. My parents even sealed the deal by making a payment towards my tuition and securing a townhome for me near the campus in Atlanta.
Then I met a boy (yes, there is a trend developing here). He wanted to marry me and take me away to travel the world with him while he served in the US Navy. Suddenly, the idea of moving alone to the big city became terrifying. This would be a much safer option, so I again opted for the life more ordinary. Little did I know when I cancelled my Art Institute enrollment that this boy would greatly disappoint me, and the marriage and my escape from ordinary never happened.
For years and years I stayed in that small town and lived an ordinary life with yet another boy who managed to sweep me off my feet. For years and years I didn’t even bother to remember the extraordinary plans I had in my youth. I just existed in my ordinary life. Then, one day something inside me snapped and I realized I didn’t want ordinary anymore. I was meant to do something. I was meant to do something extraordinary. I knew in my heart that in order for that to happen, I would need to leave the safety and security of “home”. I’m going to save the details of that five year journey for another time, but this short passage pretty much sums it up:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way….”
~Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
In 2004 I was well on my way to going ‘direct the other way’. I found myself broke, out of work and quickly becoming the crazy cat lady that everyone makes fun of. However, due to a very unique set of circumstances, I found myself leaving Alabama and heading to Tampa. That was the end of ordinary for me. Something happened to me, in me, for me. I began to live that extraordinary life I had dreamed and imagined I would. I did not become a doctor, nor did I become a missionary and travel to Africa, nor did I design red carpet worthy clothing for the super famous. What I did do was realize that I had been living an extraordinary life all along. What a difference a change in the way we see things can make in our lives. Just because I had not done things to change the world did not mean that I had not done things to change one person’s world.
I know that throughout my life, several people have had a life changing impact on me. Of course my mother and father top that list, but then again aren’t they supposed to? There are others, too many to list. I do, however, need to take a moment and name two very special people on that list. The first is my friend Melissa Burch. I know I’ve told her how much she’s changed my life, but I want to take this opportunity to tell anyone who will listen. All of the extraordinary things that have happened to me since October, 2004, have been because of her. She barely knew me and she opened her home and her heart to me. She became such an inspiration for me, and I’m not sure I’ve ever told her that. She is so smart and so sassy. I love her spirit, her wit, her Susie Homemaker skills, her generosity, her beauty, her brains, her force, her everything. She is extraordinary and I love her.
The second person I need to mention is my wonderful husband Gil. He is the reason I live. He is my everything. He has taught me to be less negative, to be more giving, to be more forgiving and most importantly, he taught me how to change my way of seeing things. Things I had been looking at all my life, I am now able to see in a completely new way. I no longer see my previous marriage as a failure but rather as a learning experience. I no longer see my job as an unimportant task that I must do to pay the bills. Instead, I now see that I play a role in keeping our soldiers safe. I no longer believe that I have lived an insignificant, mediocre life. I have been important to people, even when I didn’t know I was. I have learned to say I love you more.
Gil and I share an extraordinary life together, but not because of things we have or do, but because of what’s in our hearts. We share an overwhelming love for God, family, and friends. Before I met Gil, I was a good person. Since I met Gil, I strive every day to be a better person. Because of Gil, I want to be a better everything. I want to be a better wife, lover, step-mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, cousin, niece, Christ-follower, employee, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, neighbor, co-worker, and philanthropist. With His and his help, I know I can do this. I’m working on some goals for next year and I’m not completely sure yet of what those will be. I’m not entirely sure if I can make a difference, but I know that I’m going to try. I do know one thing for sure; I’m going to spend the next year not only living my extraordinary life, but I’m also going to strive to make someone else’s life less ordinary.