Thursday, October 01, 2015

In the Landing, After the Leap

I am not much of a leaper. In fact, my emotional state about the whole idea of rushing toward solid ground outside of a maybe a plane coincides with my physiological state: shaky and queasy. I think people who skydive and bungee jump and dive off cliffs must be missing a fear gene of some sort. Please don’t fight me on this with tales of thrill-seekers. I don’t get it.

Yes, my faith in leaping is not even, often, mostly, the size of a mustard seed. 

Less literal leaps are, however, part of life. But even then, believing chancy is the key word, I tend to carefully calculate (okay, analyze to death) the pros and cons, in and outs, dos and don’ts of any potential leap. 

Now, the leaps I take, at least so far, do not compare to brave, most often God-fearing souls I know who start new companies or organizations or blog communities, go on the mission field, or leap into a whole host of other only-on-air-stepping-forward activities. My major leaps have mostly been along the typical-for-many-women lines of getting married, having children, establishing a few careers, and following my husband around the Midwest and a couple of times East and then Michigan, which is . . .well, Michigan.

In Michigan, I found myself living in one city for twenty-five years and working in one place for twenty-four of those years, and one day facing the prospect of leaving that city and that job and almost everything dear that went with them. Or, in the case of Lake Michigan, what was nearby.  

It was, for me, a big leap into a new landing place.

Now, when I tell people God practically painted big arrows pointing south (all the way to Indiana), that is the truth. When I tell people I was ready to go, that is the truth. But at the time, I was also convinced that the landing place prepared for me would be soft enough, fit well enough, and outfitted enough, all according to my needs and wants and, yes, callings. I wasn’t counting on all things beautiful waiting there; only enough. And it was and is.

But it turns out my landing place, with all its enough, still needs my attention to increase its beauty. And I’ve come to realize that the most important part of a leap might be what we make of the landing place, what we do to (and I never, ever thought I would say this given my last name), bloom where we are planted.

I am so grateful for my landing place. But though I have new, wonderful, blessed proximity to family, I have found it more challenging to regularly gather and cherish them than I thought I would. I have opportunity for re-connection with old friends, yet in four years I have not met up with most more than once—if at all. (Call me. This time I will say yes!) Nor have I made new friends, not really. I have fulfilling full-time work I love, with appreciated flexibility and less stress than my previous job, yet it takes up just about as much energy and as many brain cells, and maybe that’s some residual workaholism coupled with a comfortable, increased introversion at work. I have a wonderful new church, but my involvement is not even close to . . . being much involved.

I love my family, my friends (both here and out there in social media), my work, to write, God’s church in a building and out. But I know my landing place needs more attention from me. Yes, though it is not all soft and downy, it is welcoming. Yes, though it is not perfect, it is a fit. Even so, though it was prepared for me, it is my job to cultivate its beauty. 

Confessions like this are risky. People (when you actually leave your computer and meet them) might ask you, “So how is that going for you?” And I also confess that I hate that, because too often I have to say I have made little to no progress. Worse, people might think, Well, can’t this woman ever be content (or happy or settled or positive or productive)? Isn’t enough, enough? Yes, enough is enough, except when we need to do our part to make enough more. For ourselves, for others, for God’s purposes. I’m just taking the risk of admitting I don’t think I am doing my part, and . . . wait for it . . . I am not sure this very minute how successful I will be doing much about it very soon.

So why am I writing about this? Because I don’t think I am here alone. Some of you are in the throes of evaluating a potential leap, trying to scope out your landing place and wondering about its comfort and its beauty for you. Or you might, like me, be firmly in the landing place prepared for you, but realizing more and more that blooming there is in part up to you.

Then again, some of you have already learned, perhaps the hard way, what it takes to make your landing place all it needs to be. And if you are willing to share, share. Some of us need to know more about what to do in the landing, after the leap.

BONUS - I would also like to encourage you to check out a new blog for women, launching today: The Glorious Table. Trust me, you won't be sorry. I believe it will help you cultivate beauty in your landing place. (I add this a couple of days later, but here is a link to a post on TGT that I think points to one aspect of the notion that we can cultivate beauty out of what in so many ways is "enough":

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