How The Worst Year Turned Into The Best Life

I grew up in a town of 400 where everyone knew everyone. The teacher’s, many who had also taught our parents, treated us more like nieces and nephews rather than students. Probably because if they weren’t actually our family, they were the family of our best friend or best friends with our family. That’s how it works in a small small town.

And my college town, although comparatively larger, was still considered small. So small that you could hear the bells at the First Baptist Church ringing from nearly anywhere in town. Our professors still treated us like family. And The Boyfriend and I shared the same friends, as we had most of our lives. Again, everyone knew everyone.

Now, Fun and Fearless are two words not often (maybe never) used to describe me. So why, one year after graduating college, did I leave the comforts of that sleepy little town? Why did I leave behind my boyfriend of nine years, a job that I enjoyed, and a college career’s worth of friends, to head to The Big City where I knew no one and nothing?! Beats me!

Honestly! I don’t have a good answer for that. Other than that when Aaron and I were younger, much younger (think naïve high school students) we dreamed about our future…in Dallas; home (sort of-Arlington is actually the home) of The Texas Rangers. As silly as that sounds, it was one of the draws. You can say we’re fans.

Dallas. That is about as detailed as the plans for our future ever got. We didn’t talk about careers, or kids. Just Dallas. And with no good reason, come to think of it.

To say that my first year in Dallas was the worst year of my life is an understatement. It was sad. I was lonely. Depressed. Embarrassed. I lived in a not so nice apartment in an even worse neighborhood. My only furniture was in my bedroom. I would walk through an empty, grungy living room, past an equally disgusting kitchen, to my bedroom where I had a dresser, a bed, and a television with no cable. I had to boil water on the stove in order to take a hot bath. Told ya! Depressing.

I cried a lot during that first year. I was sick. I missed everything comfortable. I worried about The Boyfriend I had left behind and wondered what this would mean for our relationship. I doubted my decision and came close to giving up many many times. But my “comfortable” life was getting me nowhere. Yes, I was content. Just existing.

Then I started making friends. Some that are now family. I learned to maneuver the underground tunnels in downtown, where you can walk from building to building, stopping for a Red Bull and a cookie without ever stepping outside. I learned that there are at least two names for each highway, and that if you break the city up into several ‘small towns’, i.e. Uptown, Downtown, Deep Elum, The Village, Highland Park, Park Cities, it becomes easier to navigate. I learned that the oh-so-beautiful people of Dallas are also very kind. And before I knew it…I was home.

I have been told that I have the head of a bull, hard as a rock, and sometimes it serves me well. I am not a quitter; never have been. After-all, I have an athlete’s heart. And while there are things that make me uncomfortable, my biggest fear is giving in to fear and missing out on something amazing! I’m not the most comfortable on an airplane, but that will not stop me from experiencing first-hand God’s beautiful work. Sushi-another great example! And of course, moving to a city of 1.2million complete strangers is frightening, but the small town of my childhood was going nowhere. I could always return. I needed to give life a chance.

I couldn’t have dreamt up the life that I am living today. I have experienced things and visited places that I would have never imagined for myself. The Boyfriend is now The Husband. We have been blessed with such a sweet little family. We have been embraced by our church family. We live a full life. A happy life. A very very Good Life!

…making it all worth it.

There is a song that fills my heart with gratitude and my eyes with tears. My song.

Sitting here tonight, by the fire light,
It reminds me I already have more than I should.
I don’t need fame, no one to know my name.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray, I have a life that’s good.

Two arms around me, heaven to ground me,
And a family that always call me home.
Four wheels to get there, enough love to share,
And a sweet, sweet, sweet, song.

At the end of the day, Lord I pray, I have a life that’s good.

Sometimes I’m hard on me, when dreams don’t come easy.
I wanna look back, and say I did all that I could.

Yeah, at the end of the day, Lord I pray, I have a life that’s good.

I have a life that’s good.

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