I’ve been trying to find out how to tie up this story like a big, neat, shiny bow. And it’s just not happening.
Friends, life is changing. I want to write all about it, but the story is messy.
This isn’t any storyboard plot, ready for Disney animation folks to come on it and create characters. This isn’t a plot that fits neatly in one of those essay outline umbrellas we tackled in sixth grade English class. This isn’t even a tidy, 90-minute rom-com movie that launches with a meet-cute and ends with a wedding.
(Frankly, if it were a movie, no one would stay until the end. The plot would baffle everyone in the audience.)
And I’ve been thinking and praying and talking and wondering how to do this. How to start, how to finish, how to craft the in-between bits.
I’ve only come up with one thing: grace.
How to write when your story is messy? With grace.
First, with grace for those who read. Grace for the audience, the community, the friends. Rather than tell you how we got here, I’ll tell you where we’re going first.
So here’s the big news, part one: Mr. S. and I are embarking on a big, new journey and a big, new season. We are moving, from Lafayette, Indiana, to Kansas City, Missouri.
(And yes, I’ve lived there before. Post-college, pre-Indiana, and the community there was wonderful.)
The path leading up to this has been overwhelming and fraught with anxiety. Mr. S. is wrapping up his graduate studies with his nose to the figurative grindstone. He’s putting in 12-hour, 14-hour days, all-nighters I hope he never has to pull again.
Tomorrow, Friday, we’re moving our lives in a U-Haul from Indiana to Missouri. He’s driving the truck and I’m driving his car. On Monday, I’ll get on a plane with a one-way ticket back, for my last week here. And eight days from today, I’ll drive the same stretches of highway back to KC.
His career? He accepted a new position at a familiar company, a place where he interned twice.
My career? Well, that’s the big news, part two: I’m taking my writing and consulting business full-time! Launching Inspiration-Driven Communication was a leap of faith; taking the full-time plunge is an even greater leap. It’s scary because I am a writer and I love it and I can’t ignore it anymore. Oh, but it’s also so exciting. It’s exciting because I am a writer and I love it and I can’t ignore it anymore. I’m a freelancer now, this is a fresh start, and I’ll tell you more about it in the next few weeks.
The past year has held moments of joy, moments of triumph and moments of gratitude. It has also held moments of sheer frustration, big tears and overwhelming stress.
Now that the news is out in the open, I can share those moments with you. I’m excited to share what community, marriage, faith, work and even food has looked like during this crazy transition.
And when our story is messy, we have to write with grace for the story’s characters. Mr. S. faced (and is facing) much uncertainty and much difficulty during his time as a grad student. And some days, it felt like he was up against a Big Bad Wolf or some other villain from a fable.
But oh, friends, that just made for a beautiful contrast. Every advocate, every friend, every cheerleader just seemed even sunnier because of it.
So as I tell this story, I want not to incriminate those who made the journey into a battle. Grace for them. I’d rather shine light on those who loved so, so big. I’d rather shine light on those who held hands a la Red Rover and kept us strong. Grace for them too.
One more thing as I write: grace for the writer. Messy stories matter just as much as their clean counterparts. All of our stories are messy sometimes, and that’s okay. I spent the better part of August writing and rewriting and drafting and revising and altogether wincing over how to tell this story. The story didn’t feel organized, didn’t feel clear.
But life isn’t exactly organized or clear. So I’m giving myself grace to embrace where I am today, as a writer of this story and a live-er of this story. Whether the words are written through tears or with a smile, they are worthy.
This life and these stories, in all the messiness . . . so worthy of being shared. Your story is too.
Thanks for coming alongside me in this big move, friends. Thanks for grace when the story is messy — and it’s always a little bit messy.