When we are little, we have certain visions for what our future will look like and work towards any goals we have in achieving them. But in the middle of living life, sometimes, we find ourselves on roads we never imagined. And although we understand that steps were taken to get us to our current location, retracing them tend to be more difficult. None of us left breadcrumbs along our path to give ourselves a way back. Most of us would not prefer living in the past, while some of us refuse to leave it.
For some reason, today is a day of reflection. A day when time seems to have caught up to me and has reminded me of the steps that I have taken that have brought me to this very moment. Steps I didn’t realize I took…ones that appeared to have never mattered now seem to have a reason. Steps that included waiting patiently as time worked silently. Steps that were forged in words shared and ideas that became reality. Steps that have evolved not just in the people around me, but the people I will never meet.
During my lifetime, I had envisioned a very different life for me. And although it may seem strange to say that I did not know what it looked like, I am pretty sure this wasn’t it. Nope. Not even on my radar. Maybe you can say the same.
For years before, I had ignored the warning signs that came from following my heart and allowed my journey to travel, without any real response from me. I thought that was my job. I was the tag-along. My vested interest in whatever came my way was a result of someone else’s choosing, not my own, and so I was not very vested at all. My mind was clouded with rationality and logic that prevented anything else from getting in and because of that, I had believed that every journey must make sense.
Otherwise, why do it?
But over the course of the last few years, I have learned to listen to my heart. And not just listen. But to follow it. To some it may sound crazy and just the opposite of being practical. And I couldn’t agree more. But isn’t that what a journey is? An unplanned adventure? Something to look forward to with excitement and zeal? Our lives are full of adventures that never take place because we refuse to give them a life of their own. We talk ourselves out of it, or even worse, listen to the opinions of others. I say too much or what no one else has the courage to say, but I live with no regrets or chances to wonder “what if”…because I don’t have to.
In July of this year, I felt like I was being nudged in a direction that included a shelter for women located in the Omaha area that serves homeless, pregnant women. I had no earlier exposure to this facility, other than a quick introduction and walk through as a need of my previous employment, and yet something called to me. So I sent out an email to the Family Life Director, trying to explain something that I could not adequately explain in an email. But I did my best to just pour out my heart and hoped that I didn’t sound like a crazy woman. After a 90-minute chat, she asked me one question — “How did I see what I could do for these women years from now? What did that look like?” And to be quite honest, I could not answer her. I didn’t know. All I could tell her that something inside me was pointing me in her direction and that I could not tell her what it looked like tomorrow…I just know what it felt like today.
I had no idea what I was doing, but believed in the timing of it. Having no real direction, unsure of myself, but trusting that I was where I was supposed to be gave me the insight I needed to stay the course. Over the course of these few months, we have collected almost 70 large trash bags and boxes of women’s clothing, that included shoes, professional attire, purses, gloves, pajamas, and accessories for these women.
In fact, here is one woman who was excited to receive a “new” pair of tennis shoes. She works in a warehouse and is on her feet all day. She just needed some comfortable footwear and with a her smile tells us more than the joy she feels.
In some strange way, those shoes have now found new life on a pair of feet that desperately needed them. The journey they now take is at the hands of their new owner and no doubt the journey is slightly changed because someone gave a little bit to someone else.
Where are you?
Can you even tell me? How did you get there? Is it where you want to be? What journey did you plan on taking that never happened? What has prevented you from taking another step in the direction you want to go?
Are you being logical about every decision you make, regardless of how it makes you feel afterwards? When was the last time you allowed yourself to follow your heart? I think traditionally we are afraid of trusting something that looks different or is something that is not so easily explained. But imagine what would have happened if I ignored that push towards this shelter? These women might have received other donations just the same. But do you ever think that you are placed in someone else’s journey, and that others are placed in yours?
I can’t be the first person who ever went to school or studied a vocation only to find themselves burned out or disinterested in it all together. Sometimes, our journeys take us places we never saw coming or even thought about.
We each have a purpose. A role. A reason for being. And far too often, we ignore the pleas that echo in our hearts as we travel along roads that we expect to be paved, well-lit, and full of success. But maybe that’s not our journey at all. Maybe our journey takes events and people that we view as “chance” or “coincidence” and place them exactly where they are meant to be.
A journey is not a single step. It is a continuous trek to a destination not yet known, including side trails, dead ends, and obstacles. But many of us never venture. We refuse to believe in more than what we see. But life brings us a journey never imagined, never predicted. and never forsaken. Our hearts speak and we are drawn to the words and emotions that follow. We can’t help but hear the journey that only we are meant to take. We all listen, but few act.
So, now that you know where you are, I have but one more question…
When will you begin YOUR journey?
Michelle A. Homme 2014 ©