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Maybe, Just Maybe...



"I believe in the abundance of the universe. The night sky boasts of light and dark. Space and density make up our reality. Contradictions and polarities exist in spades all around us. And if everything we know comes from dust, then why on heaven’s earth would I or you be any different?"


 

I’ve always considered myself to be a seeker of mysteries.


The more unrevealed aspects of being human intrigue me the most; spirituality, hidden truths, consciousness, and most importantly, snuffing out the predators of self-worth to the human soul. As a kid, I relished the time I was able to spend outside in my backyard. On hot summer nights, I often found myself laying on my back on the trampoline, connecting the stars with my eyes as if they were dots on a piece of paper, the darkness between them saturating my mind with deeper questions and examinations, as well as endless doubts. Where do we come from? What does it mean to be human? Why am I here? Why are any of us here?


These kinds of questions are arguably too great and all-consuming for a young child to be asking, but my spongey mind longed for a deeper connection with what I would’ve called greatness at the time. Something larger. More meaningful than arts and crafts and the daily walk to and from the bus stop. I desired to reach for that liminal space between glittering lights and harness it.


I wanted to know and understand everything.


I’ve only just entered my third decade, and I certainly don’t claim to have any solid answers on what it means to live. But I wouldn’t claim to be a new traveler in the realm of living a purpose-driven life. However, I have found myself on somewhat of an unsteady journey within myself over the past year. Highs and lows of plenty have kept me on edge. I’ve woken up most mornings not knowing which version of Mary would greet me. I’ve considered myself to be a walking contradiction for most of my life; someone whose heart and mind directly oppose how she often is viewed and accepted by the world.


This reminds me of a question that had been thrown around within my group of friends during my freshmen year of college.


“Based on my Facebook profile pic, what did you think I would be like prior to meeting?”


Yes, reader… a ridiculous question, indeed; one that opened a pandora’s box of doubt and self-loathing for every person involved in the conversation. Oh, to be eighteen and expectant of a transformative answer from a destructive question…


Facebook had just become popular in 2009, and so, a single picture held not only the weight of a thousand words, but it also dictated the future ranking of a young and impressionable person’s status. A guy friend of mine that I admired told me that he saw a photo of me and had assumed I would be ‘slutty,’ for lack of a better word. After getting to know me, he was surprised to find out that I was articulate, bright, and even funny, but only on the days when there wasn’t a test to be taken or a lecture to attend.


Of course, I was offended. Enraged, actually. My photo didn’t show copious amounts of skin. It wasn’t captioned, ‘hello, boys,’ in all capital letters. I was offering, however, a sort of ‘come-hither’ stare that many women are instructed to give to a camera in order to be deemed as photogenic.


I’ve come back to that offense many times over the years. It wasn’t that I felt shamed for embracing my sex appeal (what little there was of it at that time…). It was the idea that two seemingly contradicting ideas of femininity could not exist together. Hot, but not smart. Or, the withering girl that hides behind glasses, but is not worth a like or comment. It would be unsettling for two opposing ideals to thrive simultaneously. Dangerous, even.


I believe in the abundance of the universe. The night sky boasts of light and dark. Space and density make up our reality. Contradictions and polarities exist in spades all around us. And if everything we know comes from dust, then why on heaven’s earth would I or you be any different?


A common theme of my posts is to examine the wars we wage on ourselves. I don’t know of a single person, particularly of great status, ranking, or admirability who hasn’t experienced the timeless wrestle of what it means to find balance within and without. If I’ve come to any certainty from my own experience, it is that life and all of its messes serve to craft us into greatness. I believe this to be true for every person who has ever walked this planet. Sure; there are those who have lived and disappointed and suffered and lost and fought to no avail. Evil flourishes. Injustices are doled out to the best and brightest among us. Yet, I still believe that pearls of wisdom and growth thrive in the blackest of darkness. A colored lightbulb serves no worth during a summer day. But let many of them shine at night during the cold months on a Christmas tree, and their comfort becomes a tradition to millions over countless generations.


This curiosity for abundance, for everything existing to serve its complete opposite, has escaped me recently. The curious and bright-eyed girl within me who chased fireflies in the backyard seemed as if she had made a succinct choice to go inside and watch television. Pain, as far as I was concerned, was only as good as a blade to the rib. It served no function.


It wasn’t until I felt an unexplainable urge to travel to Hawaii within the past few months that I realized something magnificent was being reawakened within me. That hunger for mystery, for the unknown, was calling out to me once more. I was experiencing some sort of transformation, a realignment back into an abundance mentality that I had shooed away for too long. I was blessed to be able to go on this trip with Reid, and during our vacation, I found myself walking beside this little girl once more; a brilliant, remarkably self-aware, and confident version of myself that I had lost somewhere along my life path.


Maybe, just maybe, I thought, I was beginning to walk into a new chapter of self-discovery, one where I would no longer push away the darker seasons of my life, but welcome them because of their ability to change me. To make myself into something great.


Coincidences sprung up around me like daisies. I had no idea that monarch butterflies, my symbol of transformation and strength, were flourishing. These delicate, perfect creatures have always shown up in my life when I need the reminder to find a higher perspective, to realign. They were everywhere in Maui, seeming to pop out around every corner. I saw dozens of them at any hour I was awake and outside.


Creativity and the urge to write brewed in me in a way I’d never felt prior. We bumped into faces we’d met earlier in the trip while we were hiking on the opposite side of the island the following week. The cherry on top of the Hawaiian sundae was learning that two dear friends of ours were touching down in Maui around the same time. I was able to hug and laugh and cry and revel in awe-inspiring beauty with one of my favorite godly women. I was absolutely overwhelmed by how God had met me on that trip. It was as if a door into the most affluent and longest-standing kingdom had been opened to me for ten straight days. I felt I’d tasted a small piece of the heaven-cake.


I sit at my computer with tears streaming down my face just thinking about it.


The power of prayer is real, although I’ve questioned it many times. I’d prayed for a powerful breakthrough out of patterns of negativity and disbelief, but God was clever enough to have waited to gift it to me in an almost too-specific way. I watched a markedly striking sunset on our last evening, reveling in the power of why sunsets are so riveting. The combination of silhouetted shapes against spectacular color, light, and dark at its best, can soften even the hardest of hearts. It's why humans celebrate last light and treasure the nimble descent of an incredibly large star. As if the sun cannot wait to embrace the darkness of the horizon.


Nature’s contradictions are staggering.


And so are we. Humans inherently walk in darkness, and yet, we have God’s light within us, even when we scoff at His discipline. He uses the darkness to craft sunsets within us and delights in them just as we delight in His watercolored skies.


And so, I vow to do my very best to embrace the lows, as well as the highs. They serve one another so well and make this life worth questioning and answering.


You, too, friend, are a spectacular masterpiece, and with each knockdown and each decision to stand back up, another perfectly-placed brush stroke is added to the painting of your life.


Be well.

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