There’s something thrilling to me about opening an empty Word document and starting to type. Not thrilling like a roller coaster or a first kiss, but thrilling in the sense that you’re creating something out of nothing. The rhythm of taps on the keyboard, the momentum of my fingers moving swiftly along the rows of letters, the whiteness of the page being filled—with each strike of the keyboard, letters become words, words become sentences, and sentences become stories or thoughts. In a matter of minutes, that blank space transforms into a mass of tangled words; then, it’s the art of untangling them, organizing them, making them coherent, and making them smooth and beautiful that is this fascinating process of creating something out of nothing. The process of crafted writing can be intoxicating, haunting, consuming, and beautiful, and over the past few months, I’ve learned just how much this process mirrors life.
Sometimes it’s a tangled mess. Sometimes it’s a tedious chore. Sometimes it’s exhausting. Sometimes it’s difficult to find motivation.
Sometimes it’s fun.
Sometimes it’s shocking, stirring, exhilarating.
And if you take it all day by day, word by word, and enjoy every moment of the process, then when you look back at a finished product, an adventure completed, you’re filled with a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
Today I looked back at my very first blog post and sighed a deep, thoughtful sigh at the memory of sitting in my Waco apartment and typing those words. I remember the fear and the excitement of jumping into something so new and invigorating. I had no idea what was in store for the next three months, and I was thrilled by the unexpectedness and the anticipation—the blank page. Now, as I look back at the last few months, they seem surreal and unbelievable, but when I file through my memory bank of smells, sounds, colors, accents, tastes, and scenery, I can’t deny how wholly real it all was. I feel like I’ve gained a decade’s worth of wisdom and adventurous spirit that will help me to not only endure but also enjoy the unexpectedness of my future. As a college graduate with no concrete idea of where I’m headed next, I’m actually excited about the possibilities ahead. I’m still overwhelmed and worried and nervous, yes, but that prickling sensation of excitement is what I’m holding on to for dear life.
Planning out my future feels like writing a massive research paper. When you open that Word document for the first time to begin your twenty-page report, the emptiness of the page is overwhelming. It’s scary, and the knot in the pit of your stomach tingles and aches with feelings of inadequacy and inability and plain old fear. You take a deep breath and type your name at the top left corner, then follow it with the date, then the promising word “title” hanging precariously at the top of the page. It’s taking those little steps that makes the process seem bearable. And soon, the research paper pulls itself together and you’re no longer taunted by a huge blank space but rather intrigued at your own ability to fill pages—years—with meaningful, refreshing statements and sentiments.
I still have to convince myself to step out of my comfort zone (or allow God, my sister, friends, or Don Miller to convince me) to try new things and begin new adventures; it’s not natural for me, and it’s not easy. And it’s because of this, I think, that I’m so enthralled by the process of adventure. If there’s one word of advice that I’m learning to grasp, it would be to live like you’re not afraid and write like nothing’s holding you back. Don’t be afraid to claim God as your Savior, or to start a daunting journey, or to push the envelope; don’t be afraid to be heartbroken for the world or to enjoy the pleasures of it as well. At least this is the advice I have to constantly give myself. Don’t be afraid to break your own bridge of comfort and security—and then don’t be afraid to tell people about it.
So let me tell you a few things. I’m twenty-two years old, and I traveled to thirteen European countries with the bare essentials strapped to my back and my two best friends at my side. I met new friends and bonded with them over our once-in-a-lifetime experiences and escapades. I have a new appreciation for ice cubes, Tex Mex, and people who wear deodorant. I tasted exotic, bland, disgusting, and incredible flavors. I saw art and music and color in everyday life, and I was constantly stimulated and inspired by the cultures around me. My heart was broken for the downtrodden people I encountered, and my eyes were opened to a world of both pain and beauty. I danced, ran, smiled, ate, drank, laughed, lived, listened, and learned like a true traveler. I’m beyond blessed to have been able to do this and to share my stories with you along the way.
“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”
“All this beauty exists so you and I can see His glory, His artwork. It’s like an invitation to worship Him, to know Him.”
– my good friend Don Miller 😉