A Hobbit, A Girl, and A New Year

Can you believe the last time I posted was all the way in last year?! Happy 2015 to all!  I am feeling incredibly grateful for the chance to end 2014 and begin 2015 in my childhood home in Mississippi, which I was unable to visit for the past year.  Fortunately for me, the log cabin remains reasonably unchanged and cozy, the stars still shine over the farm, the swing in the oak tree still makes me feel like I can fly, and my sister and I still geek out over Lord of the Rings.

And I do mean GEEK out.  If nothing else is stable in my life, I’m 99.9% positive that my sister and I will always have the stability of our love of Middle-Earth.  For any non-LOTR or Hobbit people, allow me to inform you of something huge that just happened for us nerdy nerds: the FINAL MOVIE in The Hobbit series is in theaters (which, by the way, it hurts my heart to think that you could possibly not be in love with these stories… but I’ll try to forgive you if that’s the case).  And y’all?  It’s THE LAST MOVIE IN MIDDLE EARTH.  I am not happy about it.  Not at all.  (see photo below)

As a way for my sister and I to prepare to “visit” Middle Earth for the last time, we watched the first two Hobbit films (and put together a Hobbit puzzle, just to be super hobbity).   While watching the first movie, my eyes became teary with the following exchange between Bilbo, the hobbit, and Gandalf, the wizard, who has invited Bilbo to come on an adventure:

Bilbo: “Can you promise that I will come back?”
Gandalf: “No…and if you do, you will not be the same.” 

Have truer words ever been spoken?  I believe it is impossible NOT to change in this life, even if you are fighting it.   It is even more likely that change will happen if you become an adventurer.   And to be completely honest?  Change isn’t typically what I'd call "fun."  Those things I love about going home to Mississippi?  Well… they won’t always be the same… my log cabin may not be there forever, skies may fill with clouds that cover the stars, and I may learn to fly without my special swing in the oak tree (I wish!).

Looking back on the past few years, I see so much change that has happened in my life, and I wonder if I’m even recognizable at times.   I’ve said yes to a few life-changing adventures, but I've also had a few adventures simply happen upon me.  Some adventures seemed pleasant, and some adventures?  Well, I would have rather avoided them.  In each case, I quite fearfully took the necessary steps outside of my comfortable hobbit hole. 

But with each step, I am finding out the truth… The truth that I am one step closer to my inner truth.  My adventures, as scary and challenging and anxiety provoking and fun as they may be, are revealing what I’m truly meant to be. 

With all the changes that are possible in this new year, I’m choosing to see life as an adventure.  I’m choosing to look at the obstacles differently.  I hope to remember the feeling of pride that comes when I’ve accomplished some difficult adventure (I’m looking at you, dissertation!) instead of wallowing in the shame and fear and “should haves” of my insecurity.  I hope that if I can't go back to who I was, that I can embrace who I am.  I hope that I can see the beauty in the sameness and the changes.  

The truth is, we can’t always choose the adventure that happens to us, nor can we always choose the coming changes… but we can make choices within the adventure.  When Gandalf comes to our door and tells us the adventure is happening, we can grab our breakfast (and second breakfast) and hop on our pony for the ride.  We can even stay at home, which may be the adventure we need most.  No matter what, we have a choice.  A choice to stay.  A choice to leave.

 A choice to fight to find our inner truth of who we were made to be. 

Whatever choices I make along the way… I hope that Gandalf would say this about me too: 

“There is a lot more in her than you guess, and a deal more than she has any idea herself.” 

I like thinking that there’s more within me than I even know yet, and I hope change and growth and newness and adventure can help me find some of this “more” that’s in me.

Remember, precious ones, that "adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine" (words straight from The Hobbit!), but it will be worth it to be an adventurer refined by your own two feet walking a new path and the April showers bringing to life the Spring.