Turning the page for a new life

Photo courtesy of Kaley Patterson

Kaley Patterson
A&E Editor
@KaleyKayPatt

The sun was high in the sky at noon and shone brightly and warmly on the dry Nevada red soil and the cream concrete of the Hoover dam. “Into the Wild” by LP rang in my headphones and the rolled down window allowed a cool breeze to blow gently across my face. It felt comforting after being in my parents’ cramped Ford Fusion for eight hours.

The wind from the motion of the car soothed my headache caused by the shifting atmospheric pressure from driving up, down and around the painting-like Nevada hills and valleys – tall and wide as they stretched across the drought stricken deserted land.

The openness and occupancy of this section of America caused my mind to wander in thought about the expanse of the world and the final hours of my college career – my life was beginning, and the pen wasn’t in my hand.

There’s something about the wind, how it comes and goes at random. How it’s caused by the rush of a fast moving object, the blowing of your breath or the swifts from the tress – it’s unpredictable but constant.

I like to think God uses the wind to communicate with us – He uses all the earth to do so, but I feel a connection with Him through the wind. Sometimes if I stand still, close my eyes and prepare to listen to Him, a breeze starts up and gently ruffles my hair and graces my face – He’s there with me, always.

Before my family and I embarked on our west coast spring break adventure, I had just gotten off a whirlwind of a roller coaster with coming to terms that the college chapter of my life was ending, and I was about to start a blank page. I just accepted a part time job that would eventually turn into a full time position after I graduate – a stepping stone for my career, my life.

A job is what a college kid works towards and prays for, right? So I should’ve been happy when my opportunity was handed to me on a silver platter. But I wasn’t satisfied. I was frightened.

Yes, this job would provide exceptional experience, but I don’t want to work there forever. I know I’m not chained to my desk, but it’s not the job that gets my palms sweating, heart pounding and my eyes watering; it’s my future and the unsettling fact that I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life.

My parents, friends, professors and colleagues are constantly telling me I have the whole world open to me and I can do anything – nothing can hold me back. But there is something that has a grasps on me: fear. Bob Goff, the author of “Love Does,” once said, “Let the reasons not to fear outnumber your reasons not to try.”

I always say, “It never hurts to try.” But lately I’ve been hesitant to apply for any jobs outside my comfort zones – my craft and my home. Journalism is what I was trained well in, and Oklahoma is all I’ve ever known. Abandoning the two seems ludicrous to me, but at the same time they’re safety nets I’m afraid to let go of. Every job and every other place in America and abroad are foreign to me, but so is my future.

My life after graduation is just like the wind: constant and unpredictable. Throughout my life I have never known what’s going to come next, but something always does and I never expect it – sometimes good and sometimes bad, but I know God has the pen, and He won’t strike me with it.

One of the authors I admire, Donald Miller, in my favorite book “Through Painted Deserts: Light, God and the Open Road” said, “Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.”

As I studied the landscape of the Nevada desert, the greatness of the Grand Canyon and the sin of Las Vegas, I came to terms with the raging storm in my heart and mind.

Photo courtesy of Kaley Patterson

Photo courtesy of Kaley Patterson

Even though my current job offer isn’t what I’ve dreamed of, it doesn’t mean I can’t explore. There’s so much out there God created than for me to generate a plan of my own. My fear of the future shouldn’t hold me back from what is already written in the chapter of my life. I have to keep turning the pages.

I stood on the edge trying to grasp and understand the vastness of the Grand Canyon. It was so beautiful and still like a painting. I wanted to reach out and touch it, but I knew I couldn’t. My mind drifted to a scenario of me slipping and falling over the edge toppling over rocks, dirt and cliffs.

But my daydream never let me hit bottom, and even though I had fallen, I was only slightly battered with a few cuts and bruises. Turning the pages of your life is like slipping off a cliff; you’re caught off guard and what lies ahead may hurt you, but it’s a chance you have to take.

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