Saturday, January 1, 2011

This year I will...

1. Start a blog:

As a very private person the very thought of detailing the inner workings of my life in a public forum sounds just about appealing as watery cranberry sauce from a can or dying alone with 30 cats.  You know that really uncomfortable feeling you get when you wake up from a dream in which you found yourself unclothed in front of a mass amount of close friends and loved ones…..such was the feeling I would get every time I would finally convince myself to start the blog. The only thing I can attribute to this change of heart and the brave step out on to this metaphorical diving board is the grace of God. No, really.  I am constantly amazed by the inner workings of Gods sovereignty in my life and am daily blessed by His amazing grace that I deemed it necessary to let others read the story He is writing for me.
When I was 20 I wrote out my “ List of things to do before I turn 26”, and since then “start a blog” has found itself erased and rewritten, deleted and retyped many times. So to commence my batch of “ This year I wills” off of my pre-26 To Do List I am starting with the blog.
In the year we all just bowed good night and bid adieu, I shot guns on my 23rd birthday, stood by my sisters side at her wedding and carved my very first jack-o-lantern. I went to my favorite presidents home Mount Vernon, and invested in a fabulous fire-pit that now stands guard over my tiny backyard. There were also two journeys I took, the first was Thing To Do # 26 “meet my aunts, uncles and cousins”, it would be for the very first time and would take me back to the city where I was knit together in my mothers womb. Though this dream is now crossed off the list and completed, our relationships have only just begun. We never knew each other existed until I was 18 years old and through cards and emails a cherished relationship started between my Aunt Trina and myself. Five years later I flew to Reno, Nevada to meet her and her two children, my cousins. I stepped off the plane and no less than 20 people were waiting at the airport to surprise me and welcome me in to the family. My uncle and his family had driven in from Sacramento; another aunt flew in from Salt Lake with her daughter and so on and so forth. Being out West is romantic in and of itself, but finding out the story of your heritage, seeing pictures of who your grandparents were and looking in to the eyes of complete strangers and seeing yourself, all beneath the silhouettes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is a love story only my Heavenly Father could compose.  As I was gazing at the mountains jutted against their skyline all I could do was praise my perfect Heavenly Father for His gift to me, He answered so many questions I’d never even thought to ask and enveloped my heart with His pure and holy love. I rejoice that my aunts, uncles and cousins and another little brother to love, are a part of the Lords beautiful story, and undeniable, unshakable pieces of my heart. How wonderful that Reno, a place that once symbolized heartache would one day become a place I would long to return. On that trip I went to the oldest city in the West, I stood in front of Alcatraz and walked the Golden Gate Bridge. I finally came and dipped my toes in the clear glass water of Lake Tahoe and understood why my mother had told me my entire life “Sarah, it’s where angels go to wash their feet.” This trip I would describe with a Latin word; Renovatio. It means rebirth or renewal, and while the only time I was born again was when Jesus Christ saved my heart, I do feel that meeting my family for the first time in my life, learning about where I came from and forming bonds that will now last the rest of my lifetime was a birth of something new. A blossom opening up from the roots now freshly made aware were always there.
It was through an idea sparked while sunbathing at Tahoe that I crossed “Thing to Do #12”, off the list; Go To Europe. Now, when I was writing the list, in my head I was intending Greece, Italy or even backpacking through the entirety of what is the EU. However, due to our Danish heritage my fantastic cousin Sari, now a junior at American University, had chosen to study abroad with DIS, Danish International Studies. So with the housing accommodations provided for, it was merely a passport, a plane ticket and a camera purchase away and I found myself stepping on to the metro in Copenhagen, Denmark.  While my cousin and I biked through what is the Bicycle Capital of the World, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself, joy bursting from what was a dreamer living inside the fulfillment of a dream, eyes opening from a hazy fog and seeing possibility become reality, hands that had always been reaching for a what could be, grasp and posses what is and was.
While there I climbed to the very top of the tallest outdoor bell tower, I fell in love with Danish hot dogs, I sipped smoothies in the most amazing cafes I had ever seen, and experienced “hygge”, a word meaning fellowship and warmth that is much a part of the Danish culture as modern architecture and fashion sensibility. I explored the grounds of Kronberg Castle and took a ferry to Sweden, where I swear their hot chocolate is pure sweet cocoa buttery goodness. I left Denmark briefly and went to Paris.  I stood in front of the Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. I stood enchanted by the French countryside that yawned out from the Palace of Versailles and I beamed in delight as I found my initials; SERAS, as one of the names carved on to L’Arc de Triumphe. While many people were certain I would fall head over heels in love with Paris and never return to East Tennessee it was Danmark that drew me in and wrapped its arms around me entreating me to stay.  To have shared this adventure with my Tanta ( or Aunt ) Trina and Sari was the very sweet icing on an incredibly decadent cake or quite fittingly, it was better than a rhubarb Danish.

After having traveled to so many places, it is fitting that I have closed the book of 2010 and opened the binding of 2011 here at home. For years, the concept of home was elusive, like the magical unicorn you search for in the forest or the dragon underneath your bed.  Yet now in my adult life God has poured out on my life many doors I open and an abundance of thresholds I cross over and feel, perfectly at home… in Knoxville, Tennessee, in Reno and Sacramento, in Lyngby, Denmark.  And here, in this small town of Danville, Pennsylvania, here there are there are no monuments, no museums or metro stations, but there are four walls and a door that house within them a love so parallel to the adoptive love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that only He could have blessed me with such a gift.
While I am a planner to the core and the master of all list makers, I have learned that some of the best things experienced never find themselves on a to-do list or part of a pre-calculated plan and equation, they just happen and you don’t fully realize their magnitude until you’re on the other side of their wake. For instance, in 2010 I went on a jet ski for the very first time, I was given the incredible honor and title of Miss Congeniality, I proudly watched my younger brother Samuel graduate high school and I delicately held an ultrasound picture that showed the tiny life of my unborn niece or nephew.Outstanding moments I will treasure, and never saw coming. So now, with 55 or so things left to do on The List and a brief two years and a couple months in change to complete them all, I look forward to the victories, the failures, the accomplishments and disappointments.  I anticipate crossing dreams off of my folded and creased list of treasures as much as I do being surprised by unplanned adventures and impromptu moments of joy. Most of all I am so thankful that I am not of this world, and that should all of it pass away without a single dream or wish coming to fruition my hope would still be unshaken and my hands still raised heavenwards, because my soul finds rest, in Christ Alone.

Sarah Belle