The Coming of Age at a Later Age.
I remember the first time that I wandered away from home. Seven hundred miles and I found myself in the capital of the country. Grasping freedom in the land of free for the first time in my short and sheltered life.
At the time, it seemed like the wild frontier. Now it seems so close to home. There was so much I didn’t know about the world back then. But even more so, there existed many things I didn’t know about myself.
Life is really just a journey of getting to know yourself a little better. It’s a challenge to create our own world out of the lump of clay we’ve been handed, formed into what it is by the many generations before. And with haste, we must keep molding that clay, before it dries and this world becomes hard in its sedentary form.
We must constantly be learning about ourselves. What makes us tick. What makes us shine. What breaks our soul. What barriers keep us from doing more. And which propel us away from doing less.
I was a slow-learner. But at 20, I never guessed where the next 5 years would take me. Thank God, because I would have overthought and miscalculated it all. I’ve made up in 5 years, what I could never do in 20. In year 23, back home I headed, to a place my mind knew well, but where my heart had never called home. I made my home inside walls of familiarity and discomfort, abandoning my plans to escape the familiarity in seek of comfort.
For two more years, I lived in my pain. Here in my discomfort. Here in my chaos, that’s where I found peace. I found love. I found the real meaning of growth. Without all of these negative things, my life would never have reached such a positive place. I can still feel the knots in my stomach and the urge to run away just like it was yesterday. And just when I think I will go back to that, I feel a hand on my back. Gently telling me it’s okay. If I need a hug, the arms envelope me and I’m okay. If I need motivation, the arms give me a firm push forward. Each time telling me I am not alone. Telling me that this journey to get to know myself better affects more than just me in this world.
After all, in my two hands I hold some clay. Molding it each day into something that I will eventually hand off to another human being. Hopefully it will be a formation that makes their life a little easier, so they don’t have to spend 20 years creating what I did. From this clay, I can make a rock and weigh others down or I can make a beautiful vase, one which can hold water to nurture another life.
Here in the midst of my wandering, I can reflect on what I’ve learned about myself: that I am me and no one else is. That my experiences allow me to relate to others and empathize with their struggles. It allows me to help carry some of the weight on their shoulders and walk alongside them through their struggles. If I pass up the opportunity to use my pain for positive, then I have let my pain win power over my life. That’s something I refuse to do. Daily, I am thankful for the negative which propels me forward toward the others I can walk alongside.