I woke up in a panic in the middle of the night. One thought filled my mind. My passport is expiring! I jumped out of bed to check the expiration date. Fortunately, I caught it one month before I’d be stuck paying a higher fee.
I’m safe. And even if I wasn’t, I have no plans to take an international trip anytime soon.
So why the angst?
My real fear is that I’m not the same person I used to be, back in the day when I whipped out my passport more frequently than I now do my employee ID. That used to be my life. And I loved it. I loved feeling at home in lots of countries, the excitement of seeing God’s magnificent work up close, the warm friendships in each place I’d visit.
In forgetting about my passport, I realized I’ve lost touch with the person I was. Have I changed or just my circumstances?
On the homepage of my website, I refer to myself as a global adventure magnet. Who am I trying to kid? That’s in the past. Right now, my adventures involve shoveling snow off our driveway and carting rehab equipment around for my recuperating husband (who pops out of bed like bread from a toaster while I’m viciously torn from the loaf)–all before leaving in the dark to commute to my job. My 8 to 5 confined-inside-the-same-four-walls with only-two-weeks-vacation-which-is-earmarked-for-family job. I’m a round peg jammed into a square hole.
Seasons change our life priorities. I know this. Most of my friends who are mothers have had to face up to losing themselves in their children. They fear that they can no longer do some of the things they used to do with finesse, that they’ve become obsolete.
But doesn’t who we are at the core remain the same? Isn’t it up to us to carve out avenues of expression? I know it’s difficult, but can’t we at least take a baby step in that direction?
We need to be true to who God created us to be.
I hope that doesn’t sound like motivational jargon: How to boost your self-esteem because you are the center of your universe. That’s not at all what I think. I believe God created us with the interests and passions that we have for a reason. Sometimes He calls us to lay those aside for a time. But He gave us those affinities on purpose. And He don’t make no mistakes!
When we live fully, expressing the gifts God gave us, it’s not just that we’re more fulfilled. The world around us is also made richer.
No one else knows what’s missing in your life besides you. If you love playing the piano, for instance, you’ll never be happy if you put that on hold for 20 years of child-raising and pretend it’s OK with you. It’s up to you to cut corners in your budget so you can invest in an electric piano with headphones and play your instrument while the kids nap. Somehow. You must find a way to hold on to who you are, to be pro-active about ways to grow, and to guard against squelching your gifts.
Because on the inside, you and I haven’t changed.
My panic wasn’t really the fear of my passport expiring. I was afraid that by the time I’m finally able to return to Eastern Europe, I won’t have enough energy to enjoy it. At least, not the way a global adventure magnet should.
For now, my adventures will need to be contained in Appalachia. No worries. It doesn’t so much depend on where you are but on who you are. Isn’t adventure a matter of perspective?
Adventure is out there. Every day. Every place. And I don’t need an up-to-date passport to live it out.