Amazing Begins Where Comfortable Ends

I recently found myself in Raleigh.  Well, that’s what it felt like anyhow.  I swear I looked up and said, “WOW I am in Raleigh.”  I called home and told my husband, “I am not sure how I got here.”  Well, of course I knew how I got there.  I bought tickets, I boarded a plane, I checked myself into the hotel.  I willingly planned a trip to North Carolina.  But I went for reasons that didn’t exist once I arrived and it was very disorienting.

I had made this gross miscalculation and ended up somewhere I didn’t need to be.  I wasn’t happy about it.  I may have even Googled flights home.  I was uncomfortable – away from home, separated from Charlie and half of my kids, in a city that was unfamiliar to me with no good reason for being there and nothing clear to do with my time.

I wanted to go home.  I was in real pain.  I wanted to escape from my Holiday Inn hotel room and the view of endless gray unfolding outside my window.  I longed for familiar comfortable surroundings and for South Florida wide-open blue sky.  And then it hit me.  “Sit tight, Alexa.  Something cool is about to happen.  A truth is going to be revealed.”

And all of that ended up being true.  I went to Raleigh for one reason and ended up being there for another.  I got to see who I was when I was out of my element, I understood things about myself that just weren’t possible going through my day-to-day at home – how much more confident I am in cities that I know, how much more complete I feel with my husband by my side, how I prefer the noise of my kids to the loneliness of my own thoughts, and how my mood depends on the light in the sky.  Finally, I could see that I just don’t have my act together in the way I like to believe.

And it was a blessing to appreciate these truths.  A blessing that is only bestowed when we are unsteady.  These cracks and ugly places are only exposed when we are thrown off.  I can see how that may not be appealing.  Who wants to be cracked and ugly?  But the problem is that when we stay pretty and composed and together and strong and safe, we don’t grow a bit.  The result is that you get to live the rest of your life just as you are in this exact moment.  Or maybe it’s more honest to say: you get to live the rest of your life limited to just as you are in this exact moment.

The growth only happens when the ground is shaky.  So, the next time you find yourself asking, “What the heck am I doing in Raleigh?” don’t resist, don’t try to control it, let go of your footing.  Lean into the experience, let it knock you off your feet because that it is when something important happens.