“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” –Douglas Adams
In many ways, I have achieved much of what I imagined for myself as an adult. I live on the boundary of a national park and every evening, the shadow of the mountains blankets my house as the sun sets and the stars rise. Coyote howls come in the open windows on the wind. I’m moonlighting at a conservation agency partnered with organizations like Patagonia and The Sierra Club. Last week I conversed with an author of desert literature I’ve long admired, whose canon of non-fiction books dot my shelves. Today I met the superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park. Next month my contract begins at the junior high, where I’ve been hired as the 7/8 English teacher and entrusted with a new curriculum developed with the help of the History and Bio channels. I maintain an active, healthy lifestyle characterized by travel and new experience. I just spent my first weekend home since April. I have seen every sunrise (thanks for that, Scout). I have made work friends to brighten my days and dog park friends to fill my evenings. Sometimes they even overlap. What more did I want for myself than these things?
I am humbly grateful for this life. It is not what I expected; it is not what I could have imagined, but it is what I needed. I am unaware of the long-term plan shaping my life, but I see it evidenced at each stop along the way. If I didn’t move to these new places periodically, I would have missed out on meeting these people, seeing these sights, learning these things, sharing these insights, and being shaped by these elements.
Your gifts are not given to you for you. They’re given to you to share with others. This experience is not what I would have chosen for myself, but it allows me to share my gifts with those who either need or appreciate them. I am thankful to be such a vessel. It is fortunate that while being able to share my gifts, I am also able to fulfill so many of my own desires.