Going on almost five years and I still love answering that question! Today the answer is a little less exotic – I’m fifteen minutes from my house in San Antonio finishing off the last of this Tuesday night chipotle burrito. I’m down to the awkward nub stage and you know it’s the BEST kind of hard work.
Mmmmmm that question, though … It’s freaking yummy!
I remember noticing the shift about a month into flying, all the calls and texts from family and friends were starting with “where are you?” instead of “how are you?”
And the destinations turned into moods. New cities made me feel sexy, an anonymous “who’s that girl” factor I’d definitely never felt before – of course no one else was looking at me and thinking that but WHO CARES?! Those inner vibes felt GOOD! Repeat cities made me feel like a pro, confident, suave, local[ish]. Eating alone on the regular took a little getting used to but once you do there’s this crazy empowering thing about the independence that sets in, ordering a full meal by yourself and not picking up your phone once. In my new home base of Queens, New York I was my totally terrified self, but multiple times a week I got to shed that skin, up and take off … and so quickly became addicted to the high of asking that question and then answering it myself …
Where to next?
Don’t get me wrong, an awkward nub burrito size of the time being a flight attendant is the company telling you where you’re going and you having zero say BUT, chipotle water cup half full looking at life right now it’s leaps and bounds and miles and planets away from the level of opportunites I was scoring before.
Where to next?
Only recently has the essence of that question taken on a bit of a twist. Now when people ask me (or roughly the 5x a day I ask myself) it’s got very little to do with my job and much more to do with my new husband’s. About a year and a half ago I married an Air Force pilot I met on a ski trip and while it’s the best thing about life on earth, it’s also taken my answer out of my hands in a big way. Now I’m pretty new to this, but being a military wife kinda feels like living in this perpetual whirly-twirly emotional space of competing “maybe’s” for months or years at a time and then – all of a sudden – your new reality more or less just bluntly lands on you.
And I miss the high of being at the wheel.
More than that though, I struggle friends. I struggle hard with the feeling of living in someone else’s pocket. Of some military official I’ve never personally met making the call on where my husband is sent, and I along with him. That should be me or worst case scenario my job shaping such a huge part of life!
Some days it’s a bitterly tough pill to swallow after abiding in such unhindered freedom for basically all of my adult life until now, but the love of my man and the graciousness of Christ’s new gifts kicks that off the truck pretty quickly and efficiently. The lasting kicker is struggling to make a peaceful space for my heart and brain in this in-between limbo of the rising and falling I just don’t know‘s.
Many flight attendants will tell you that with our perpetual pattern of coming and going it is super vital to have a solid home base to touch as often as you can. A place you can settle into, a place of real rest and certainty, a steadfast haven to contrast the “up in the air feeling” of diverting because of weather, trips extending for days at a time, working with new people and personalities every day, the day’s conclusion being at the mercy of so many connecting and independent factors … the same elements of this career that are alluring and fabulous are the same reasons I desperately need an anchor in me somewhere.
How incredible is a much needed vacation? But also how stinking good does it feel the moment you walk back through your front door into the land of you? The craving for adventure is so thrilling and potent because it’s balanced with that sweet daily familiarity and comfort of your day to day life. Home is key. Home is rest. Home is permanent in the flow of temporaries and unexpected’s.
[Side Note: You probably wouldn’t think it to hear the lifestyle I’ve chosen, but I’m a naturally more of a homebody. I love to go out and try on new dresses and restaurants and experiences but I also have an insanely deep rooted adoration and appreciation for my couch and my couch blankets(sssssss).]
On top of this – and please message me if this is you too, it’d be kinda great to know you’re out there – I am an extremely VISUAL person. My brain connects the dots of my expectations by putting on little split second plays in my head. Day dreaming was literally a pastime for me growing up, I got through freshman year Spanish class by looking out the window and picturing David Archuleta serenading me on the roof of the gymnasium while sitting at an Elton John-esk white piano. When I think about what I might name the kids I might have one day (Yeswealldothatyou’renotcrazy) for some reason I always picture my hypothetical daughter in her late twenties in business-fabulous attire shaking some guy’s hand at a board meeting and saying, “I’m ___, nice to meet you!” I even cast the books I read with actors I know. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a new song and not seen a music video from start to finish in my head … thanks to the movie 500 Days of Summer there’s always a lot of close up shots on trains lifted by sherbet-orange sunset mood lighting.
I. Am. A. Mess.
And. I. Get. Invested.
Every time a new possibility flashes in front of Evan and I, every time I hear another name of another base in another city that could be a possibility the expectation machine in my brain IMMEDIATELY starts pumping out custom tailored freeze-frame images of me on the beach, my husband laying on a rug with our dogs, a Pinterestish home we will not actually have, me eating whatever food is stereotypically native to that city based on past episodes of The Bachelor – maybe I’m not the only woman in the world who does this but DANG if this image-centric world doesn’t continuously push me into the arms of an image driven life.
And I am HERE for it. I want it! I’m built for it! Because it’s something I can DO.
But God has proven himself to care about me way too deeply to just cater to my temporary urges and expectations of what this world is telling me my life should be like, despite how badly I want to listen. Instead, he’s giving me a life I can really sink my teeth into, a faith that actually means something to me and I hope pleases him, an actual trajectory towards the kind of living that will fill my heart rather than strain it and drain it. I have no idea what I am doing, I have none of my stuff together and I am constantly face to face with my intensely stubborn ugly selfishness … and it’s ridiculous but sometimes I even knowingly choose my ugliness over his glory. But he is relentlessly turning me to face him and is showing me just how extravagantly he has blessed me when I take even a tiny step towards him and let go just a little bit more:
I hightailed it out of college upset and anxious, finished flight attendant training and moved to New York on a prayer. In return God honored me hard and gave me an unbelievable freedom, confidence and self-sufficeiency I would never have dared to hope fore in my early twenties. I should NOT have had it but he gave it!
I met Evan on a total whim when I was fully reclined in the pool of sweet, unattached single life, then changed everything a month later to pursue an intense long distance relationship with the incredible man God was telling me was a game changer. And God honored me hard again with a husband who is just the freaking bee’s knees.
Evan and I had a dream job, a dream plane we intended for him to fly because we knew exactly where we’d live for the next six years if he got it. Instead God honored us hard and gave us the fighter assignment with arguably the most assignment possibilities in the system, which is going to take us yet again through door after door in the opposite direction of my expectations for the next decade or even two.
He is steady, he is unwavering, and he is good. He is not like me.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
– Isaiah 55:8-9
God does not have expectations … and our expectations do not phase God.
Something my husband said to me this week, “The reality is we’re all being guided by God’s plan, but you and I are so acutely aware of it right now because we don’t get to cling to something that is as comfortable as “daily life” as we used know it.”
The hot guy I married is crazy right. It is hard that my anchor is not allowed to be in worldly things right now. I’m genuinely deeply upset sometimes that my life as a believer seems to be this striving for the nugget of control dangling like a carrot in front of me that I can never reach … but at as young as twenty six my life is already so so different and undeniably better than what I had set out to chase. Knowing this gives me some comfortingly sweet peace a lot of days, and others, the resounding cries of joy and gratitude in my spirit fade to the faint echo of elevator music beneath the seemingly more relevant notes of my anxiety, my emotions, my ever persistent worldly expectations …
For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who says to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” – Isaiah 41:13
But again I come to this, and in it I take heart: God does not change, his truth and promises have serious staying power even when the re-re-re-realizations of his promises and his goodness fall by the wayside every now and again at the hands of my limited imagination.
Evan and I have come to this same crossroads countless times in our very brief one and a half years of marriage, and have gotten really, really good at audibly saying “Okay, God. You’ve got this, and it’s not ours to give but we give it to you anyway. Where you lead us we’ll follow. Your will first, your will only, in our lives.” Between his job and mine it’s the number 1 hit single of our marriage! It’s our daily giving. On my not so proud days it’s my daily grieving. But looking back on possible unexpected deployments, my own work base transfers coming through at the right time (or at all), huge financial decisions to have to make in your twenties, devastating family tragedies, workplace promotion pressure, ever-adapting personal schedules, bouncing around in this never ending “limbo” stage – and seeing God’s intimate, intentional faithfulness to us both – makes it just a little bit easier for this earthly heart to give it up again today, and hopefully tomorrow.
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain … – Hebrews 6:19
And so to all of you nomads out there, or anyone one at all struggling to release the wheel, I cannot wait to stand with you one day in Heaven where our true home and peace are full throttle realized and in the same place. Until then, let’s try to give up the backseat driving.
all love & support,