You leave behind some of your most beautiful, courageous parts on the road you travel.
It’s easy to be youthful and fresh - blossoming while clinging to the vine - up high and showing off your bright colors. The sustaining veins are still touching you. You are connected to a life stronger than your own where the beauty is given and not earned.
Success and adolescence are similar. Sometimes you feel like your best life and greatest achievements are behind you. Now that the flower has bloomed, it turns dark and withers around the edges. It has nothing left to offer.
But deep inside of your belief system. Far beyond the negative talk that we tend to allow in our heads and hearts, there’s a sliver -- a small disbelief that your life and service have met its completion. There is hope as thin as the leaves on the branch that you still have something in you - something to offer to this life because you’re still here.
Maybe you graduated, leaping from one great career move to another. Lightning struck and you found a true love so crazy that you fell into marriage laughing and supporting one another with expectation, service, and happiness. You had a brood of nearly perfect children, saved up enough money for your first house and had one amazing dream come true cascading and pouring into the next one. But then you stopped. Life kept moving and you were standing still in your kitchen. The hope you once felt so strong, now as lukewarm as the coffee you're pouring into the sink.
Life travels whether or not you do.
Time zipped past and one day you realized you were no longer connected to the vine. You’re not sure what happened or when it happened but the youth, the magic and all the dreams fell. The life you knew began to fade away. You mourned how alive you felt seeming only moments ago when you were high on the branch at the beginning of your life. But the spring of newness faded and let go of you. You fell into years of trials you didn’t see coming, failures of good and bad decisions and then maybe you've experienced the painful loss of a parent you didn’t realize would hurt as much as it does. A part of you died with them instead of them, living on inside of you.
Your life has been full and most of it has been good. But life and youth tug you away from the high places, the safe places, the source which gave you life in the beginning. Life will blemish the youth. Time wears you down and fades the lovely. Gravity slacks the skin and one day you find yourself, trying to find yourself in the mirror. That's the day you decide to see past the fading and discover the real beauty of courage inside of you. The true strength that lies beyond the wrinkles and age.
Surviving the road instead of traveling on it.
Your true beauty is surviving the road. Your talents have been honed after years of practice. Your grace is continuing the journey even though you don’t know why or for what purpose. When you travel the road - and keep traveling - that’s beauty. You keep moving. You don’t have to be successful, winning or ass-kicking. Beauty is refusing to give up because the voices in your head and heart tell you that the opportunities are for the strong and young. True beauty is not quitting even though you feel like your life has passed by without taking you anywhere amazing or giving you the chance to show the world what you can do.
You served your kids and they’re doing great. You served your marriage and it may have survived the weather, but you survived the raging storms inside your mind. Ask yourself what is the THING that only you can do? What reason did God have to put you in this time and space? What’s the thing that you can give to the world that no one else can? What’s the thing still waiting to bloom inside of you? You have become the strength of the vine - giving life to your dreams. Do it. If you’re still traveling the road then you’re on the way to your destination. That thing for just you is still waiting. It’s your dream and it wants to be a part of your life even through all those years you forgot you wanted it.
*You* are a different kind of beautiful now. A better, more experienced, well-seasoned version of you. You are beautiful because you are surviving on the road. The road is the hard part of life that winds and turns and seems endless and yet too fast at the same time. The years behind you aren’t your best. The moments ahead of you - the becoming the you -- you were meant to be. Becoming the REAL YOU will reward every person in your circle. Your children need to see you digging the excellence out of your life. Your friends and family benefit from seeing your true passion emerge. You’ll inspire the people who overlooked or forgot you.
Find all of your beautiful YOUness.
Seek the YOU, you are meant to be.
True beauty and bravery are not fresh, new and unblemished. The stunning courage is that you didn’t stop searching for you. You’ve given to your life and now your life wants to celebrate the road you traveled and the miles you haven't yet started.
There's beauty in falling down and finding your path anyway. But there's remarkable courage when you leave a beautiful trail for others to follow.