Last summer, I went hiking often. I made new friends, got close to people, and felt like I’d found a place and a group that I fit with. Up until the beginning of April, I’d imagined my 2015 summer to look no different than last summer – except with deeper relationships. And then it was pulled out from under me and suddenly I had no idea what anything would look like. Even though I felt so confused and lost and deeply hurt, I kept moving forward. My summer looked NOTHING like I had imagined it would look like – and in wildly beautiful ways.
Two weeks ago I cried because I miss Ryan’s friendship – I miss how he appreciates stupid pretty days, how we shared funny videos on Facebook, how he was fluent in emoji… I don’t have anyone in my life who has brought me the same level of consistent joy. I never imagined being unable to communicate with him. But here I am.
In the midst of all of the hurt, God redeemed my broken parts. He gave me another summer at Camp Arnold. I got to visit at least once every single week they had camp, and I saw campers bloom into staff members and I met new people and developed inside jokes and shared memories and all the while had the capacity to say “I am going to go for a walk” and take time to retreat with the Lord without the responsibility of campers.
Sometimes I feel like I’m in a maze. I’m not LOST, because I know that the maze is also known as The Life of Stephanie Orefice, and I know that maze is held in the hands of a loving God. The boundaries are set, I know I am safe and secure. So there is no fear in the maze aspect of it, there’s just the potential for frustration and confusion. You spend months going down one tunnel to the exclusion of other options, only to find yourself at a dead end.
and man it’s frustrating, and often times it hurts because you’ve sacrificed SOMETHING and you’ve used YOUR ENERGY to travel a path that leads nowhere, and then you have to admit the barricade and be redirected. There is no amount of malicious intent from the dead end. The dead end just is, and we’d have hit it whether we moved towards it at a snail’s pace or we’d have run at it full speed (though one would inevitably cause a lot more pain). Dead ends just are.
I could choose – we could choose – to lay at the base of the wall and to cry over what we dream might be on the other side. We can lament over the energy we’ve spent to get that far, we can gather our friends to have hours of circle-running conversations about the WHY’s and the HOW’s, but in the end our only true option is to get up and keep moving in a new direction.
I’m grateful for my dead ends and how each one of them has forced me to move in a different direction, because every time there has been something more beautiful than what I had been able to imagine was behind the wall.