On Living and Leaving

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“What brought you to Nashville?”

“Life.” Life is always my answer. Sometimes people give me a perplexed look & ask me to explain. Then I get to tell them the story & that’s my favorite part.

More life has been crammed into the last three years than I could’ve ever imagined. But I’ve learned that when you commit to living & not just surviving, God will be faithful in giving you that desire of your heart.

I don’t think I was prepared for the grieving that comes along with living. In my experience, being alive requires a lot of things to die. Sometimes even good things. Friendships. Work. Experiences. Traditions. Good things that are ideal distractions from greater things. It’s that “seasons” thing we talk about – at some point the winter will come, it always does, to kill off the old & make room for the new.

A friend shared a passage from “Through Painted Deserts” with me a few months back that nearly brought me to tears. It was one of those moments where you feel like an author wrote those words just for you…

And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it? 

It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. 

I want to repeat one word for you:

Leave.

Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed. 

I am in a season of metaphorical leaving. I’m not moving, not even taking a long trip anywhere. But leaving nonetheless.

A friend asked me today how I’d been. I told him I was hanging in there. He asked if I thought this time was going to end up somewhere good or if it felt aimless. I told him I thought it would be good. That it was hard because I was choosing hard. I got tired of feeling like I had settled into going through the motions, yet again, so I made a choice to dig in. To have hard conversations. To do the hard work of growth.

Winter is dragging on but I sense Spring coming. And I have hope that even this chapter belongs in my Nashville story. My grandpa asked me a few months back if I planned to stay here forever. I told him absolutely, if I had it my way! But even when you find home, it would be a crime not to venture out now & again, wouldn’t it?

With courage, Katie

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