oregon coast
The stars were suspended in the sky, the tiniest twinkling lights hanging down so close to the earth, yet still just out of reach. I didn't know I needed it: the damp, crisp air kissing my face, the not-so-distant crashing waves, the spectacular umbrella of night sky wrapping me in its arms gifting me a few moments of quiet, of peace, of promise.

If I stood on my tip-toes, I maybe could have done it -- grabbed the lowest hanging sparkle and captured it, like putting a firefly in a jar on a sweet summer's night. Something inside instead left me silently planted, still, waiting. For what, I'm not sure, but it felt necessary. Something deep within my soul held me rooted to the corner of the porch, head tilted back, eyes to skies.


My winter break wasn't exactly what I had anticipated. Hard to believe, but staying in one place for a long time is difficult for me.

There are always
things to see
things to do
things to explore
and staying home disrupts the opportunity to do so.

Does it?

Discovery comes in many forms. It takes time. One must pay attention to discover.

In my quest for life-giving adventure out and about, in new places, experiencing new things, with new stories to tell, I can miss a very important type of discovery: self-discovery.

Naturally one will find new understanding about oneself while exploring and traveling and having exposure to the nouveau.

Self-discovery, the way in which I am referring, happens in the difficult action of
stopping
slowing
silencing
stillness.

I would be untruthful if I told you that I spent many contemplative hours of my break doing these things. I didn't. Well, I didn't not do them, but I didn't do them in ways that provided a deeper understanding at the core of my being.

What I did do, however, was upset my routine of having no routine and my expectations of unrealistic expectations.

It's hard to be satisfied when I anticipate everything to be better than it actually could, or even should be. Living for adventure and on the go pushes space to pay attention to oneself, to others, to God, off to the margins. Disruptions are frustrating, unmet expectations are devastating, and life is just not quite as fulfilling.

Instead, during winter break, I did a lot of nothing. This gave permission for the space that had been pushed to the margins to make its way back to center of the page and present itself as open, empty, blank space to be created into anything it wanted to be; anything it needed to be.


TJ and I went to the Oregon Coast with his family over Christmas. It was my first time and it was enamoring. It was our family's first time doing anything like this, and I think we all needed it for a variety of reasons. The deck on the rental home provided views of the shore break and giant sand dune below during the day and the spectacular, pure sky by night.

Staring at the stars this past Christmas night I was consumed with an unusual appreciation of the messiness of life and the gift of the disruption of hope and wholeness in the stillness. I found myself so very grateful for the reminder that there is always an opportunity to discover, wherever I am, wherever I go, or, especially, wherever I stay.

That night I left the stars there, but gave them one last longing gaze before going back inside. They deserved to be discovered by someone else that also needed a hopeful disruption.