As sun poured through the window and sweat dripped down my brow as I rolled out of bed I knew it was a cold coffee & girl date kind of morning. I turned on the coffee pot, kicked on the air conditioner, and picked up my dear friends Hillary Swank & Julia Roberts. As I eagerly awaited to pour some fresh brew over ice, I lost track of time scrolling through an endless array of “wanderlust” photographs on Pinterest. As the spring days in Northern California pass me by, my desire to travel grows exponentially. My obsession with running miles of endless trails to Ed Sheeran serenades and my yearning to be overlooking crashing waves from the cliffs of Moher deepens every minute.
When the “beep” of the coffee pot sounded, I got my last fix of quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson and prepared myself for the morning ahead. Just me, my iced coffee, and a heart ready for some contentment. The familiar melody of The Pogues’ “Love You Till The End” filled the living room and the calming lyrics escaped my own mouth. Yes, I am indeed a living, breathing cliche. “P.S. I Love You” has been my absolute, undisputed favorite movie for 10 years now. I first fell for Gerard Butler as a love struck 12 year old and a decade later, my heart still melts for him and this movie. I just so happened to be heading to Ireland in a month and a half – but it’s got nothing to do with this movie, I swear. I also choose to avidly listen to Oasis and Flogging Molly by my own accord. Well, aside from only reaffirming the fact that I am undoubtedly meant to live out my days in the countryside of Ireland with a handsome lad, watching this movie (which every line and song I can recite) reminded me of what this life is all about. This is the first time I’ve watched it and really resonated with my girl Holly (Hillary Swank) on a deeper level though. It’s the first time I have understood the grief of loss and not knowing how to fill that gaping void. It is the first time that I have actually had a life that I had built then in such a short time, had it ripped away. The feeling that comes with looking back on all the things you wish you had done, said, or did differently. It’s the first time I’ve found myself relating to sitting on the couch in three day old pajamas, unmotivated to get up, and not knowing how to be. Being surrounded by friends and family but never feeling so alone. Between my iced coffee, Gerard’s smile and eloquent love letters, the beauty of the landscape and the anticipation of my coming trip to Ireland, and the unbelievable amount of truth that is spoken throughout the film, it was the perfect morning of refreshment and peace. A reminder of all the beauty and love that fills this world, even after we’ve suffered lost. A reminder that it is absolutely okay to mourn and grieve after a loss. It’s okay to not be okay. But when the time comes, we’ve got to pick ourselves up and rediscover who we are and who we want to be. We will never be the person we were before and that’s okay because we’re not meant to be. We’re made to constantly learn, grow, evolve. We’re meant to meet people, see new places, and try new things. We’re meant to fall in love, get our hearts broken, win some and lose some. It’s what makes life such a beautiful journey. As P.S. I Love You puts it, “Nobody’s life is filled with perfect little moments. And if it were, they wouldn’t be perfect little moments. They would just be normal. How would you ever know happiness if you never experience downs?”
It’s so easy to find ourselves stuck in a rut. Find ourselves stuck on the hamster wheel of life’s monotonous routines. We find ourselves in a period of waiting. When we’re heartbroken, it is like our entire universe comes to a colossal end. But we’ve got to stop. We’ve got to stop waiting. So much of our lives is spent waiting. Waiting for love, waiting for a job, waiting to have enough money, waiting to have a fit body, waiting for him to call. We’re always waiting. And meanwhile, life is moving forward. Time is passing by. It’s easy to use our heartbreaks, our failures, our lack of things as an excuse and as a crutch as to why we don’t pursue what we really want. We allow fear, doubt, and physical restraints to prevent us from taking a leap of faith. But we’ve got to learn to live again. And live more.
I’m going through “A Purpose Driven Life” again, for the third time now. It’s always such an awesome tool to reset and reprioritize. But going through it this time the pages speak to me differently. “What drives you? What drives your life?” I’ve never had difficulty answering that. Serving God and doing what I love – my sports, my academics, my career, always defined me. But as I read that question, I found myself just staring blankly at the page. Unable to open my notebook and pen out the answer. When I made the decision this January to go to Bahrain, my purpose changed a bit. My personal mission statement became: live a life of love; love God, love others, love life – the rest is just extra. I certaintly got to love so much in Bahrain, and I also received plenty of the “extra.” Now, 5 months later, I’m having to revisit this idea. What drives my life? I feel exactly like Holly. I’m at a loss for words, for motivation, for purpose at the moment. All I know is I’ve got this insatiable desire to go. As someone who has always been driven by school, athletics, and a set career, this is such a new place. So what better to do than dive into God’s word, get down on my knees and pray, and for the love of God, watch my two favorite movies to gain some clarity and insight.
Between the two stories of 30 something year old women rediscovering life and passion and love through friendship, adventure, travel, food, music, and pushing through the seasons of grief and loss and change, I feel revived. I feel rejuvenated. The way cold coffee awakens us in the morning, P.S. I Love You and Eat Pray Love awakened my soul. Reminded me all about the loves and passions that fill my heart. It was reassuring to find company in two women who understand the need for more in life. Who seek to find balance and want to fully feel what it means to live. Who understand that to feel deeply requires the risk of getting hurt deeply, but it also means experiencing the true beauty of love. The two story lines follow two very different lives that parallel so much with each other as well as with mine. I’ve got this whole P.S. I Love You romance and Eat, Pray, Love adventure going on and though it’s been gutting, it’s been absolutely rewarding and the best adventure of my life.
I was able to walk to the table this afternoon and know with certainty what my purpose is. What drives me. Loving people, loving God, and loving this crazy thing called life. I know God’s got a big journey ahead. And now I’ve got to go. This desire to serve and to see the world is only growing every minute of every day. I think it has always been there. In my heart. The desire to go. To see the world. To experience life. To live a life of adventure. I’ve been blessed to experience and learn so much in my short 22 years of life but I’m eager to learn and grow even more. My mission hasn’t changed. Love God, love others, and love life… but I think that means everywhere. Loving God and people all over the world. I just want to learn about other people and other cultures and other religions. I want to read books and write letters and dance freely. I want to sip coffee on street side shops and hear music in local pubs. I want to fall in love with mountain sides and open fields and crowded streets and the melodies of all different tongues. I want to see God everywhere and in every way.
So what drives me? I don’t want to wait anymore. I’m going to chase God and chase life. With reckless abandon.