Finding Wonder in the Chaos
Well, I'm sitting on the floor inside a coffee shop in Arcata, CA, hiding under a table (literally) because the barista took pity on me and let me sit in here to charge my phone (even though the place is technically only doing carry out and he might get in trouble). Yep, we live in that world now... But his extension of help and grace is a sweet reminder that no matter how weird or trippy it gets out there, love and beauty still exist and this Corona thing can either push us away from each other - or help us find compassion and humanity on a new, deeper level.
I'm on my way back to Redding today, but I feel like I just NEED to take this opportunity to tell you the story of the last couple of days because there have been so many moments of synchronicity on this trip that I can't ignore. It's driven home the truth that when we listen to our hearts and trust that we are actually connected to God, they can lead us to some beautiful places.
As you know, I drove up here Thursday without a plan because I needed to see the ocean. I felt the urge so I did it! I had an inkling that I might spend a night or two here so I packed a bag just in case. Thank God, because 5 days later, here I am. But here's the fun part. Thursday night, as I was standing in a grocery store charging my phone (again, ugh!) and searching AirBnB for a place to stay, one place in particular was really highlighted to me. It was called an "Artist's Cottage" and I knew I was feeling the need for was some creative re-fueling, so I jumped on it. The price was amazing, so I crossed my fingers and hit "Request". By this point, it was 8:30 at night, I was cold, hungry and did I mention freezing?! It took about an hour for my lovely host to respond. I was just about to give up when she messaged me and said to come on over! Even better, she called me and gave me directions about the best way to get to her house. I pulled up and she met me inside and made me feel so welcome!
That night, after I ate my VERY late dinner and way too much of the granola she left for me on the counter (oh well), I crawled into bed so grateful for the day and the freedom to take the next couple of days moment by moment. In the next couple of days, I explored Eureka, Arcata and a couple of beaches. Just letting my soul get refreshed and having some pretty deep conversations with God. We're talking about big life stuff these days and I find that I do my best processing while I'm on the move... in the middle of exploring and letting myself breathe and find WONDER, the answers just come. Or the emotion that has been blocking me from seeing the answer just goes. Sometimes both. (Note: This doesn't have to be your way... but my reason for saying that is to encourage you to pay attention to how and when you hear Him best.)
Then it happened, I was sitting in the sweet little Artist's Cottage one of those afternoons, reading through my old journals again (more later on how humbling that has been) and my host came in to check on the supplies. We ended up talking for more than an hour about life, Corona, faith, God and how present He is if we're just paying attention, family and moments of synchronicity. She was fascinated by the fact that I just hopped in the car and she shared my sense of adventure. Turns out she has walked through most of Europe on walking tours since her husband passed away 15 years ago. We really got going about Ireland and my fascination with the culture! Here's where the synchronicity comes in... she looked at me before she got up to leave and said,
"You know what? My next guest cancelled... you can stay here an extra two days on me, if you'd like."
Then she hugged me - not a cheap, halfway hug - but a REAL hug and told me God would send me other mothers and aunties to love me just like her. I honestly got tears in my eyes and when she left, I was so overcome with gratitude. Both to her and to God. It's so funny how He looks out for us and meets us on the way if we are willing to take a step in the direction our heart is calling us WITHOUT necessarily knowing what will happen.
I keep using this term "synchronicity" so let me make sure I give you the definition I have in mind...
syn·chro·nic·i·ty /ˌsiNGkrəˈnisədē/ noun 1. the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
Yep, I was standing in the middle of it. Events that seemed to be unrelated, but definitely were. I love these moments because they are moments when you know you have caught the wind of God and you are letting Him lead you. That's when the adventures happen. That's when the blessings and the surprises show up.
Here's the thing, though, these kind of moments require two things:
Listening and paying attention to the nudges or the "feelings".
Give up control and having to know how it will turn out and let yourself be surprised. Oh, and one more...
Don't judge yourself OR God when you take a leap and it doesn't turn out the way you thought. This trip was a dream. A TOTAL dream. But there were moments where I felt like I failed. Like I missed the wind or messed up. What I'm learning, though, is that as I choose to focus on the beauty and the moments of connection, that is what grows and expands in my life. And overall, I'm just a happier person because I'm "thinking on these things." (Phil. 4:8)
Oh! And the MOST beautiful part of my visit was the trip to Patrick's Point yesterday (you can tell... I've filled this post with pics!). Again, I felt the nudge to go yesterday instead of today and it turns out the weather was much more agreeable yesterday. I'm so glad I listened to the nudge!
LET YOURSELF FIND WONDER IN THE UNEXPECTED MOMENTS
Be listening. Be watching. Be grateful.
Because as the world around us gets crazier and more chaotic, we can still have peace in the midst of the storm by choosing what we focus on and keeping our eyes on Him.
Okay, friends, I'm gonna hit the road... I hope these posts are encouraging to you and never feel "preachy". I hope you hear the heart of God in them. His heart of Love. I'm still learning to walk in the constant awareness of that Love, and just want to share my moments of learning with you as I do... I hope my story gives you the courage to leap without looking in your own life - whatever that looks like! Much love!!