A few days ago, I finished a book by Vera Brittain called Testament of Youth. An account of one woman’s (really, a girl’s) experience during WWI, her journey of love and loss resonates with me as I make my own journey moving across the country, grieving the friends and places which I have left behind. Her story isn’t happy, but it is inspiring. As I closed the book, I found my heart lifted to hope as she exclaimed that her journey through darkness and loss yielded a new joyous beginning.
I think my favorite line from the book is this, “We should never be at the mercy of Providence if only we understood that we ourselves are Providence; our lives, and our children’s lives, will be rational, balanced, well-proportioned, to exactly the extent that we recognise this fundamental truth.” For me, this means that we make decisions about who we want to be in the world. We use our choices, our commitment, our dedication, and our actions to follow and shape ourselves to be that person.
This is not to say that I think there’s no spiritual part of the journey, that I don’t need to listen for messages from God or the universe or anything like that. However, for me, those messages are signposts. They tell me I’m headed in a positive direction or give me a little notice that I’m travelling in a direction which won’t benefit my journey.
As we begin to put down roots in this new area, I continually think of this concept. It’s not what we do or where we are which forms us. The formation comes from making decisions about who we want to be in the world. The “what’s my job” and “where I live” and “what I do for fun” don’t matter as much as “how I do my job” and “how I live there” and “how I have fun.”
I hope that, as I find my new place in the world, I delight, inspire, and enable people to create beauty joyfully – whatever form that takes.