So tonight I ugly cried. In no way shape or form did I look beautiful while I cried but every single one of those tears was beautiful. This cry was one of grief, one of realization and one of utter joy and beauty. Anyone who knows me knows I am a crier–I cry all the time, happy things or sad things, it doesn’t matter I cry. So for me to have moved from my comfort zone and into a very different country and this be the first time I have cried, it is pretty shocking. And do you want to know what made me cry? Have you ever heard Brad Paisley’s “Southern Comfort Zone?” I was listening to music as I worked on my French translation and this song randomly came on. And as I listened to the sound clips from the Andy Griffith show and listened to the lyrics, I was hit with a moment of realization that this describes what I am going through perfectly.
I am from the South, I love biscuits (I mean the big fluffy ones you can get from Bojangles not the delicious cookie I eat with my tea here) and I love who that sound clip from Andy Griffith reminded me of, my BigDad. That song brought up all the beautiful memories of my childhood growing up in the very unique and truly wonderful South. My mind crossed over the ocean of life that I have lived in just 22 years. I saw glimpses of my childhood, my high school years and my most recent college years. I saw and remembered many people who have left their hand-prints on my heart and felt the love that is warmed by their hand-prints. I was reminded of the bitter-sweetness of some hand-prints. I was reminded of the bitter taste that this beautiful world can have and I was reminded of the sugary sweetness this world can hold as well. I was rejoicing while also grieving the shedding of who I once was so I can live fully into the new woman I am/becoming.
This song reminded me that my memories have added a distinct flavor into this life. I realized that I am ready to turn the page on the last chapter and enter into this new chapter that God has so beautifully designed for me. I have realized that it does not mean that those memories are gone, no it reminds me that memories are what sweeten and flavorize life. Memories are the spices, salts and sugars that are added into the delicacy of life. They are what shape us and shape this life into a masterpiece that is all our own.
As I ugly cried I had a beautiful revelation: I have these incredible memories from my childhood, growing up and going to college but I am in this new stage of memory making. A stage that is me set out on my own with God. In a wonderful place that is absolutely where I am meant to be. A stage that has already created memories that I will smile about for years to come. So just as those memories that my family, friends, childhood, Charleston, PC and I have created make my heart smile I know that these new memories, though flavored differently, will and are making my heart smile. I am glad I finally let it out. It has been a rich emotional moment of simply recognizing life for the incredibly difficult, incredibly spectacular, glorious mess it is.
And maybe one day as I am talking to my baby as they are on their own adventure, I will look back on these memories and will remember just how overwhelming and rewarding it all is and my heart will smile. My life is forever being changed and it is priceless to be experiencing it. God is truly writing me an incredible story and I am so thankful.
Brad Paisley’s “Southern Comfort Zone”
“And I Miss my Tennessee home
I can see the ways that I have grown
I can’t see this world unless I go
Outside my Southern Comfort Zone
I miss your biscuits and your gravy
Fireflies dancing in the night
You have fed me, You have saved me
Billy Graham and Martha White
I have since become a drifter
And I just can’t wait to pack
Cause I know the route I leave on
It will always bring me back”
2 Corinthians 5:17
“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”
Open your hearts to all the messy feelings. Allow yourselves to enjoy your memories and to maybe ugly cry, tears can bring a unique healing. Be blessed my friends, love with all you have and spread kindness. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.