I don’t talk to my best friend nearly enough. We are busy girls, with different schedules and obligations, we are separated by a significant majority of the East Coast, and despite our best efforts we aren’t the best consistent phone communicators. After a considerably long game of phone tag we finally found ourselves on the phone last Saturday, her 27th birthday. I was driving to Boston for a weekend with family and with a little help from the fancy hands-free set up in my car we talked from Albany NY to Worcester MA. We had a lot to catch up on. Those nearly two hours on the phone together were two of my best hours in recent months.
We talked a lot about what has been going on, catching up on our jobs, our families, our recent adventures. And then we talked about the future. Her brother’s upcoming wedding, her summer travel plans that unfortunately involve far too little Kateri time for my taste, and then we turned to future plans, the big picture kind. As you may know from recent posts I have big changes coming up. A move, a new job, my first time moving away from a place I have always called home. Betsy has big changes on the horizon as well, as she is in the final stage of her PhD in Marine Biology. (Have I mentioned she is brilliant and amazing?) Anyways, in our conversation Betsy said something that has been on my mind since. When our conversation turned to post PhD plans Betsy said this;
“For the first time in my life I don’t know what is next. I don’t have a plan for what I will do.”
Betsy has wanted to be a marine biologist since before the day I met her, nearly 20 years ago. Her life has been molded around this plan. First high school classes and extra-curricular activities, then college, then grad school and PhD, and now, with the end of this long academic tunnel finally in sight she does not know what or where or when the next step happens. A feeling she is not accustomed to, a feeling very few of us enjoy. After we discussed a few possibilities and plans she said something else which has stuck in my mind. You see, her husband is awesome too, and while he is happy and fulfilled in his current life, much of it has been shaped around Betsy’s goals and plans. He has made many choices in the past around her plans rather than his own, trusting that it will be right, which it has! So as she faces this potential cross roads without a direct path in mind, Chris told her that sometimes our only option is a Leap of Faith.
Leap of Faith.
What a scary thing. Right? I mean really, how many times have you done that; taken a deep breath, closed your eyes, spread your arms, and leapt. Into the unknown, away from plans and control, just leapt?
I can tell you I haven’t done it often, and when I have it has been more of a nose plugged cannon ball than a swan dive. But sometimes, despite my best efforts to craft and control, a leap of faith is the best if not only option.
Sometimes these leaps are smaller things like forgiving an old friend and reaching out to them again or finally writing a letter to long lost family, building a new relationship, unsure of where it may go. Sometimes, they are big leaps, leaps that can change your entire future and destiny; leaving your job, your home, letting go of a former dream for a future replacement, letting go of a person you never planned to lose. Sometimes, the hardest leap of faith is patience. Waiting for the next path to present itself, waiting willing to do whatever comes next.
So here we are, my best friend and I, both at a crossroads, both unsure of what comes next. But we are here together. And while our leaps will take us different places, I still feel a sense of comfort in taking her hand, closing my eyes, stretching our arms wide open, and leaping.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost “The Road not Taken”
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