Lately, as Jonathan has been studying at the kitchen table, I've been simultaneously working on our websites and watching movies on my computer with my headphones on so he can study in peace. We brought a big CD case full of DVD's (I'm still unable to access our Netflix here, so if any of my loyal readers have suggestions on how to do this, I would be immensely grateful!). Last night I watched Under the Tuscan Sun. It's one of my favorite "feel good" movies. You know the kind. One of those movies that you can watch over and over again (I watched it 2 times in a row last night!) and it still makes you smile and laugh and get a little choked up. It makes you feel good! Under the Tuscan Sun has so many great quotes, and last night while I was watching it, I just couldn't pass up some of the parallels to our situation here in the Bahamas. So I thought I'd share a few of those parallels here! Let me give you a little background on the movie for those of you who haven't been lucky enough to watch it yourself (I highly recommend it!).
Francis is a middle aged author in San Francisco who is financially supporting her husband (also an author) while he "works on his book". She finds out he's having an affair and her world comes crashing down. Everything she thought was normal and good and right is all out of whack and bad and wrong. So her friends push her to take a tour of Tuscany as a vacation from the hell that has been her life and she ends up stumbling upon a villa named Bramasole which she buys somewhat on a whim. So the movie is about her life in Tuscany trying to fix up a huge run down heirloom house, trying to find love, and trying to sort out her life in an unfamiliar place with a life she swears is not her own. She has experiences that make her resentful of her situation and experiences that make her wonder how she has come to be so blessed. In the end she realizes that all the things she has hoped for and dreamed of have already happened to her. Just in a different way than she thought they would. I cannot help but identify here!
Of course, I have not experienced a divorce! Jonathan and I are happier than ever, so I can't draw that parallel in any way. However, this idea of needing a life change and not really seeing that change coming until it hits you square between the eyes is DEFINITELY something both me AND Jonathan can identify with. Many of you may have wondered how we arrived at this conclusion of starting medical school. Jonathan taught school for 3 years before starting this seemingly "out in left field" career change. He was so unhappy while he was teaching. He spent many anxious and stressful months just trying to hear his calling...he knew teaching wasn't it. So he came to me one night while we were in bed reading and basically said "I am supposed to go to medical school. I keep going back and forth and then just coming back to this. So I'm gonna do it." How could I argue with that?? And so the journey began!
As far as I'm concerned, about a year into the prerequisit process, I kept feeling like there was something else out there for me (of course we didn't know we were destined for the Caribbean at that point!). In conjunction with that feeling, there was that still small voice that was clearly telling me "Rachel quit your job." Which was outlandish to me. Almost funny! How could I do that? That's our livelihood! That's what I do! Quitting is not an option. And honestly it wouldn't have been...IF we had been lead anywhere but a Caribbean school. God knew this! So He made it so that His plan for me was played out just like His plan for Jonathan was! God is blessing us both simultaneously!
I can't just write this blog and tell all my readers that being an "island housewife" is all perfect and wonderful and without challenges. I would be lying! There's a scene in Under the Tuscan Sun where Francis's friend Patty says "There comes a time in everyone's life where they're standing at a crossroads." And we were standing at a crossroads a few months ago. Took a leap of faith that brought us to Freeport. All the signs pointed here, and we couldn't ignore it. So here we are. That leap of faith was not an easy choice. I have to MAKE THAT CHOICE almost daily! I have to choose joy...because some days that joy is hard to find. Likewise some days that joy is overflowing out of me!
The onslaught of "the terrible idea": In the movie, Francis encourages a writing student of hers to take a "terrible idea", work on it, and make it something special. Raise your hand (figuratively of course) if you heard me and/or Jonathan say "We're moving to the Caribbean!" and you thought..."Gee...that sounds like a terrible idea"? I know you're out there! The beach sounds fabulous, I know. But I'm sure there are lot's of you out there who've thought "That's all well and good, but I couldn't do it". Well let me be the first to tell you that you can! Maybe moving to the Caribbean is not the "terrible idea" you've been contemplating. But whatever it is, chances are that it's more possible than you think. Maybe the idea is not as terrible as you think it is! How often in our day to day lives to we limit ourselves because of what we feel we have to "lose". Trust me when I tell you that what you have to lose is not something lost on a leap of faith! I "lost" a beautiful house, a nice car, beautiful furniture, a comfortable church home, an income, a great job, the comforts of "home", etc. The things that are really important though (my husband, my friends, my family, my future, my faith) were never lost. So take that chance! From the other side of a "terrible idea" I can tell you it's worth it! God's plan for you cannot be derailed, so it's gonna happen whether you resist it or not. Learn to listen even if the suggestion seems impossible!
"There is a section of the Alps, that is a very steep, very high part of the mountain. They built a train track over this area to connect Venice to Vienna. They built these tracks before there was even a train in existence that could make the trip. Because they knew one day the train would come..."
Do you sometimes feel like a dreamer? Like maybe the things you're hoping and praying for are things that are a part of a life that is not yours to live? I do! So don't feel alone in that feeling. I'm reminded often (and that quote from the movie last night was another reminder) that God WILL provide the desires of your heart! He put those desires there Himself! But it's the "waiting for the train to come" that we all have problems with. However, it shouldn't keep us from building the track with the hope that one day it will come. It will! Think Noah. He built the Ark before the flood because he knew it would come! Think Moses. He took the children of Egypt out of bondage before he even really knew where he was taking them! Think Mary. She accepted the challenges she was given knowing the "consequences" because she had faith in the outcome! So find hope in the outcome! Have faith in the finish! Because train or no train, He's building a life for you way beyond where you can see and it's fabulous! Be fearless in your pursuit of the plan...He will bless you're "blind faith"! He asks us to come to Him with childlike faith. That kind of faith that says "I'm gonna jump off the side of the pool without my floaties because I know you're gonna catch me!"...He's that Daddy out there treading water encouraging you to jump in because He knows that what you're "jumping into" is safe as long as He's there. He wouldn't tell you to jump if it wasn't...would he?
"Regrets are a waste of time. They're the past crippling you in the present. How are you ever gonna be happy if you keep wallowing?? When I was a little girl I would spend hours looking for ladybugs. Finally I would just give up and fall asleep in the grass. When I woke up, they were crawling all over me."
Just quit trying to force it. Quit thinking so much! Quit letting your failures dictate your future. Quit letting fear run your life! Just let go and it'll happen. Release that grip on whatever the heck it is that you've got clenched in your fists, relax, lay it down. When you "wake up", it will have been done for you...