Monday, June 25, 2018

it's hard to have a heartbeat in two different places.

i have a question.

Q: have you seen those trendy t-shirts that have a map on them with hearts in two different cities with a dotted line connecting them? or maybe the dish towel version? or the coffee mug?

A: yes - great! me too!
     no - okay! just pretend!

my point :: i feel a lot like that dotted line lately. like i have a heartbeat in two different places. one in ohio. one in alaska. and perhaps a few teeny tiny pieces of my heart sprinkled inbetween.

this week ben rector released a new album. and one of the songs is called "old friends" and when i heard it a few weeks back i cried. he speaks of knowing your friends house phone numbers from memory + getting to friends houses on his bike. he shouts that "no one in his time zone knows what inline skates" he wore. that "no one knows you like they know you". "you can grow up - make new ones - but theres nothing like old friends."

there is one line in particular that says  "i've got some new friends now. but i've never seen their parents back porch." believe me when i say - when i heard it - i wept. it just about knocked the wind out of me.

if you want to hear the song - CLICK HERE

this year i have had friends back home get married. have babies. and go through huge life changes. and if i'm being honest with you - it's hard to be so far away. because my heart feels like it's still in ohio. walking around with people i love.

and although i've made new friends. they only just know who i am now. they know my story but they didn't walk through it with me. and while sometimes that is refreshing. sometimes it's terrifying. because it doesn't always feel safe. sometimes i feel safe. with a few people i feel really safe.  just not always.

sometimes i just need a hug from my best friends since kindergarten instead of advice from someone who didn't walk through the hard with me. and then sometimes i need someone who wasn't always there - who knows the person i've become because of the hard - to just sit with me as i sort it all out. it's delicate.

it's different with the ones you shared a childhood with. because we were young together. and we really KNOW each other. and then all of a sudden we are all on the verge of turning 27. but still we sit in my parents kitchen and reminisce when i'm home. we talk about the beautiful and the hard. the easy going days of elementary school. the brutal realities of junior high. the magic of high school. and the growth that college brought. we laugh about the teachers we had crushes on. because you know - everyone has a teacher crush. this time - dad was asking about our teacher crushes and since they are his colleagues it was HILARIOUS. but it is times like those where all of a sudden i'm transported back to childhood. the kitchen might look a little different. and we might look a little different. now there are husbands and babies to get home to. planes to catch to get home. even still - when we tell my mom we're going to grab Swenson's so we can eat it during the 4th quarter of the cavs game - she says "it's late be careful." our lives have changed drastically. but there will still be something that holds us all together.

but then here ... here holds so much new and so much growth. here i get to sit around a kitchen table on monday nights and make new memories with friends. here i have been adopted into the coolest family who actually genuinely cares about me. here i feel loved and known for who i am now. here i live above my friend's parents and when i get home from a trip they have me come sit on the couch and tell them about it. here i get to share bits and pieces of my story with people who know nothing about it. here looks so much different than i thought it would 23 months ago when i was preparing to come. here isn't anything like i expected. but i kinda love it here.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places.

a few weeks ago i road tripped from ohio to florida with my parents. if you don't know them you should. i call them mama brave + RT. we stopped to see friends in nashville, tn + birmingham, al. it was a blast. i made them listen to "love does" by bob goff because - well - who doesn't love bob!?

if you want to read bob’s book :: CLICK HERE

we were headed to a beach in florida that i have never been to. something hard for me. because i love tradition. i am nostalgic through and through. i'm not one for changing something that is good and lovely. but alas - here i was - headed to this beach.

my entire life we have gone to sunset beach, nc. i think we have been there 23 times in the last 27 years. maybe 22. and we have only really missed for weddings + my make a wish trip. sunset beach is so dear to me. if you'd like to read about it CLICK HERE!

this new beach was fine. but i missed my old beach. it didn't hold the nostalgia. or the memories. and while it was beautiful to be with my family ... it just wasn't as precious as it normally is. this part of the ocean didn't recognize me. also to give the beach the benefit of the doubt - it did rain all week. there was a depression in the gulf. but i promise you. the rain isn't why i didn't feel home there. i was thankful for the rain.

[ there is something about my little piece of the OCEAN ... i feel known there. like God shows me bits of who i'll become. in the waves i see His majesty unfolding + His love for me there ... GRAND.]

so while this new beach held beauty because of the people i was with ... my heart still longed for my old beach.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places.

a few days ago my dad called with some bad news. my 1st grade teacher was entering hospice care. less than 48 hours later another call came ... she had gone to be with Jesus. i am still processing it all. mrs. hershman was so so precious to me. i remember 1st grade pretty vividly. her room was bright and full of joy. smiley faces were a must + getting everyone to be an excellent reader was on her agenda. we had this giant book of words called victory drill. we would go up to her desk one by one and be quizzed on the pages and how long it took us to read them. when you finished the book - she presented you with a bible.

i remember the morning i finished. it was track and field day. the awards ceremony was one day away. she called me over and said "okay. we're gunna try one more time sweet thing." and she pushed that timer and i started reading. well. i passed. and the next day she gave me my bible in front of the school. one of the only awards i've ever won! haha. but her love for me didn't stop there. she sent birthday cards into my high school days. prayed me through the hard days. brought smiley face everything after my brain surgery. and consistently encouraged me up until a few months ago through facebook. i was trying to remember this week the last time i saw her. and i couldn't remember. and that made me emotional. but i suppose it's okay. because what i remember is a young vibrant lady who loved her family - friends - students - and especially her Savior well.

just about everyone i've talked to has said "she was my favorite teacher" "she is why i came a teacher" "i loved that lady." and the compliments just keep coming. i hope to leave a legacy like that.

truthfully - i wish i could have seen her one more time. i wish the letter i started writing her wednesday could have been finished in time for her to read it before she passed. i wish she could have gotten a little more time. but how selfish of me to wish that. for her to be back on earth when she gets to be in Glory. how selfish of me to want more time. when she is with the One who holds all time.

this week my heart is hurt. the sting of this earth is enough to bring you to your knees some days. but the promise of heaven is what i cling to.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places. 


this week in my journal i wrote this::
when i'm here. i miss home.
when i'm home. i miss here.
and i try to be present in these spaces. be grateful for where i am. but i'll tell you...
it's hard to have a heart beat in two different places.

be brave

shelby elyse

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