Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The State Of My Heart

Wow. It has officially been over two months since I posted. And no, I did not forget that my blog existed, it was just a very crazy couple of months, and didn't really feel capable of penning my thoughts and feelings. But here I am! So prepare for a long entry. I have officially moved from Portland to California, although I am staying with my parents for now and don't have any details about where I will be living this year. The move back was hard in many ways, because I ADORED Portland. It's a bit hard to explain, because California is and will always be my home. Not to mention the fact that my family is HUGELY important to me, and they, along with the majority of my best friends, are here in CA. But let me try and tell you a bit about my journey to Portland...

The last few months, and possibly closer to years, that I was there, I became somewhat discontented in San Luis. I love the town of SLO, I love the area, I adore my friends, and SLO was a comfortable distance from ALL my family members. So I tried as best I could to remedy my situation, and find contentment. It didn't happen. Now don't be concerned, I wasn't depressed or anything, I just knew that I needed to be getting more out of my life. I loved the kids that I worked with, but was getting more and more frustrated with other aspects of my job. I was becoming acutely aware of the fact that I couldn't get anywhere with my Bachelor's degree. The town seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, and younger and younger. (With the exception of families, who were sort of just a painful reminder that I don't have one of my own yet.) There is precious little to do in SLO if you are young and single, but out of college and uninterested in the bar scene. And my church life was... not flourishing (my fault, not theirs.)

So... in the spring of last year, I went to a worship conference at Kevin's church in So. Cal. with my friend Jenn. I opened the lines of communication with God (which had been, for the most part, closed for awhile.) I knew that God was telling me to move to Portland. Some of you readers may not understand what I mean by this, but communication with God, at least in my life, is not a one-way street. He has things to say too. And I finally turned off my selective hearing, and clearly heard what He had to say. And cried. I was not very interested in moving to Portland. It's far, and I'd never even been there. This kind of a huge change is very out of character for me, and was a bit daunting. But an overwhelming sense of peace followed, and I knew it was the right decision. You may remember that Kelly and Rob were considering moving to Portland at that time, and I firmly believe that this was God's way of a) bringing Portland to my attention, and b) making me more comfortable with the decision, because I at least had the possibility of family coming to join me. In the end, that was not what He had for them, but it made for a much easier transition for me, and by the time they settled on Castro Valley, I was comfortably situated in Portland.

Here is why Portland was amazing. I have a MAJOR tendency to define myself by the people in my life, and my relationship with them. This is fine, except that sometimes I lose sight of who I am, aside from a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc. Moving to Portland separated me from everyone, and while that was extremely hard at times, it was exceptionally good for my soul. (Don't take this the wrong way; think of it as a compliment that I love you guys so much that I don't know who I am without you. ;) Just needed to figure that out.) I purposely chose a school in Portland that had a campus in California, so that if I needed/wanted to come back, I could. (Plus I knew that state licensing differences were likely to become an issue.) So, I relocated to a new city (the biggest I've lived in yet), a new state, started a new school, a new church, a new job, met new people, and made new friends. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but I am a fairly neophobic person (fear of new things.) I would be perfectly content to always eat my favorite foods instead of trying new ones, spend time with my favorite people instead of meeting new ones, and do activities that I am used to, rather than seeking out new ones. (The only exception is that I LOVE to travel; this is a strange contradiction in myself that I've never understood.) So all this newness at once should have been a huge shock to the system. Strangely it wasn't; I transitioned quite smoothly. Another sign to me that it was meant to be. And just the fact that I did it, and lived in a new city on my own, far from everyone I know (well, it's not Europe or anything but it's far for me), just made me feel very satisfied with myself. (Although I have not forgotten God's huge role in the situation.)

The people that I met and the experiences I had in Portland were priceless. Plus, being mostly on my own did wonders for my relationship with Jesus. I won't go on and on about all of this (well, I guess I already have...) suffice it to say that it was an important year for me. When I prayed about whether to stay in Portland or return home, I got a clear answer: "Wherever you go, I will be with you." It was not the answer I was looking for, but it was a good one nonetheless. I wholeheartedly believe that moving to Portland was one of the best decisions I ever made, and that the decision to move back was just as prudent. I am SO excited to be closer to my loved ones, to the beach, to In & Out, etc. ;) I know that I won't fall into the same discontent that I experienced before, because I am a changed person. This year, I am confident, will be just as amazing as the last.

I just wanted to explain a bit of what I've been processing in the last two months. And even though I'm closer to everyone now, the blog does not stop here. Blogging has been a lot of fun for me, a great way to process, and to communicate. I will update more often now that I have less on my hands. Kate's wedding is this weekend (woo hoo!!) and I leave for Spain in a week (yes!!!!!) so I will undoubtedly have some fun things to share soon.

(Also, I hope you enjoyed the play on words: The "State" of my heart. In the end, my friends, California wins.)


Arletta said...

Smiles is all I have in response. I love you!

Jenna said...

It sounds like Portland was for you what SLO was for me. Thanks for being part of my finding-myself process and a blessing in my life! Welcome back to CA!

Mom Ryan said...

Thanks for sharing so much of your life this past year! And how much you grew in having to start over in a new city, etc. Ultimately, we are so happy that you are back with us in this State, and hope you will be settled soon! Meantime, Enjoy the time in Spain with Adriana!!

Kevin Markley said...

i made the blog!

Linda Z said...

Sounds like a great time of growing. So glad you followed the Lord's guidance.

Rob, Kelly, Bennett, and Elodie said...

Aw, great words.

"I just knew that I needed to be getting more out of my life... I was becoming acutely aware of the fact that I couldn't get anywhere with my Bachelor's degree. The town seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, and younger and younger." EXACTLY how I felt when it was time for us to leave SLO (now I miss that little town like crazy). Remember our house on High St.? I used to walk downtown from there all the time and feel disappointed that I couldn't find any place new. So, I (we) moved to NYC where I could barely find any place twice (at first)!!

I know God did some wonderful things in you this past year. I really look forward to being in your daily(ish) life here!! SOOOO glad you are back, CoCo.