What appeared to be a series of poor decisions, careless mistakes, and risky moves led us to The Unknown.
The place that the “safety patrol” attempted to diminish and “comfort zones” planned to overtake. But The Unknown became the grandest destination for our family. In isolation, we linked together as an unbreakable chain. In stillness we had never felt before, our hearts began to beat in the same rhythm. The role of each member surfaced, creating space for all of us to evolve.
At times in this journey, the woes of day-to-day life stole valuable hours from us (me in particular). The pain of stretching muscles we had never used and the fear of The Unknown left us exhausted. We tried to draw our own maps and navigate the land by following what we perceived to be the best paths. But those paths only led to dead ends. It didn’t take long to realize our plans didn’t work in The Unknown.
So we began to look at where we were instead of where we were headed. As a result, nature became a gift to us. We learned to respect its splendor and its wrath. Wandering around it in awe, we explored the peaceful streams and the roaring rivers. The cool breeze encouraged us when we felt weary. Mountains provided shade where we needed to hide. Each sunset and cotton candy sky brought us immeasurable joy.
Without our own maps to follow, we could venture outside of the lines into the scariest parts of The Unknown. It wasn’t comfortable, and onlookers would suggest that we made sincerely crazy moves. But in this place, there was nothing to lose. If there was ever a time to have a little fun, this was it.
Creativity began to flow like the melting snow surrounding us. In The Unknown, there were no shadows to hide in, no coattails to ride on.
We were forced to press into our own identities, and it got deeper and messier every day. But the approaching breakthrough of the next season was worth the mess. In fact, we finally realized how necessary the mess was. Without it, we became stagnant and immobile, which would only result in more wasted time. So we chose to pursue everything we hadn’t previously felt “safe” enough to want. The outcome of our pursuits will likely continue to unfold for the remainder of our lives. The unrelenting quest to becoming the greatest version of ourselves cannot stop.
After a year of experiences that developed character and changed our hearts for good, we stumbled upon a road that led us back to something familiar. But honestly, we had become accustomed to life in The Unknown, so we hesitated to celebrate our desired path. We wondered what we might miss if we traveled again. We could choose to give in to the worry that we might not be “done” here or that the amount of time spent was too insignificant to matter. But we’ve learned that every minute in every season is worth something, and worry is only a product of my struggle to control.
The Unknown has become quite appealing to us because of its opportunities and adventure. And honestly, we will stay in this place no matter where we are geographically. For some people, The Unknown is found in a relocation. For others, it might be starting a family, or maybe like us, it’s chasing a dream. One of the greatest attributes of our privileged life is our freedom to choose. There are daunting places we can go that are filled with experiences and people we need to encounter, including our truest selves. Wherever it is, don’t fear The Unknown so long that you never let yourself go there. And if you do go, leave your ideal map behind. Saying “yes” when you’re unsure of the outcome doesn’t set you up for failure; it sets you up for growth and quite possibly the unraveling of you.
In this season, I’ve learned to stop overthinking the process from A to Z (that doesn’t mean I’ve perfected it) and, instead, celebrate “what life writes” uniquely for me. Only I get to have my joys, my lows, my transitions, and my Unknowns. I don’t want to waste time criticizing the weirdness of it; I want more than anything to find and breathe in all the good.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on whatlifewrites.com
Featured Image by Thomas Kelly