When I think about writing a post I ususally have some theme or idea of where I want the topic to go. Today I don't exactly but feel like writing anyway. I am thinking, once again, about new beginnings, about taking a new direction when I am not quite sure where it leads, about trusting my heart and my God and hoping that I am not making some foolish mistake. I have been working two jobs of late and I am getting ready to leave the stable, reliable one to devote more time and energy to the one that is something I love to do, but carries no guarantee of what will come next. Bilbo Baggins wrote a poem about the Road that comes back to me in times like these. "The Road goes ever, ever on, down from the door where it began. Now far away the Road has gone and I must follow if I can. Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins a wider way, where many a path and errand meet, and whither then? I cannot say." I feel like much of my life has been like a twisty road, with many offshoots and "inviting exits" as my Dad used to say. He used to tell my mom, who was always afraid of getting lost, to just stay on the highway and not take any inviting exits.
I, on the other hand, have taken many. I started out in college as a premed major and ended, three colleges later as an ag major. I have assisted African women with gardening, I have taught Pennsylvania mothers to birth and breastfeed their babies, I have counted bird populations, milked cows, talked with farmers about land conservation, worked in garden centers, had my own small gardening business, am now a library assistant in the reference department and promote the plantings of native plants in the landscape. There is continuity in most of the above though it may not be so readily apparent. I am a nurturer and my heart longs for restoration and wholeness-in the land, in relationships, and with God.
I have been challenged recently to think about "identity", what is at the core of myself and what is "put on" as image. It is a good question and one that I will be thinking about for a long time. It is an uncomfortable question, as well, if I be honest. It means facing not only what matters most, but why and what influences helped to form the values that are a part of me. What has guided the choices I have made? What guides them now? What do I want my life to count for and how do I live it with integrity?
Recently, I have entered into a new job with a local land conservancy and my role is to promote the plantings of plants native to this part of Pennsylvania in the home landscape. I am working alongside others for whom restoration is more than a worthy goal but a way of life and practice. I feel at home with these people and have been encouraged to find some kindred spirits among them. In his book The Wind Masters, Pete Dunne wrote about a young migrating peregrine falcon,"She was longing to return to a place she had never been, but one she would know when she got there." That is how I am feeling about being involved with the people and mission I have become a part of at the conservancy. I used to think that the situation I "would know when I got there" was a physical place. Now I realize that it is perhaps more tied to relationships and shared vision than a location. At least for now it is.
As I come back to the original topic of new beginnings and making changes, all of the above ramblings come together. I want to live my life intentionally, putting energy into the things that matter most and letting go of the things that don't. At this point in life, I am recognizing that my time and what I can accomplish are finite. I want to make a difference in this physical world, and to be a voice of restoration and redemption. I do not fully know how to be that voice but I have some ideas and by God's grace and favor, hope to be faithful to the call of the heart He has given me. May He continue to guide and may I be quick to listen as I attempt to live out the rest of my days with integrity.