Before my family moved us to the Silver State, I grew up in Southern California. I spent the first part of my life living in LA and Orange County. We didn't ever live on the water, but we were close enough to get to go to the ocean a lot. I'm sure it was partly because it was free. My parents would pack my sister and me up, drive us down and let us run around in the sand eating sandwiches for lunch. At the end of the day they'd hose us off in a beach shower in a vain attempt to get the sand out of our clothes, body and hair, have us change behind a towel in a parking lot (my least favorite part), and make the hour-or-so drive back home.
I love the beach. I love the smell of the ocean. I love warm (and cold) sand between my toes. I am perfectly content under a big umbrella or laying straight under the sun getting a tan (don't tell my Grandma, haha). I could take a million pictures of the sunset or the waves. I love just BEING when I'm at the coast.
Your troubles and hardships are really put into perspective when you're standing next to a body of water so large that it feels like you can see the ends of the earth. Suddenly, everything about my own life feels small next to God's glory and creation.
I didn't go to law school in California because I didn't want to be tempted to stay. First, because I'm terrified of their bar exam, and second, because it's really expensive to live there. NV is said to have the third hardest bar exam, but that doesn't make the big kahuna any less terrifying. So I chose Washington. It wasn't landlocked, but it wasn't So-Cal either.
I am almost always fine with this decision... but today...
I woke up this morning homesick. I woke up missing the smell of the water in the morning. I woke up wishing some fog would roll on by, just to burn off by noon.
I woke up discontent.
I am so happy to be in Small Town near the Boyfriend and the Baby again. I actually do like my job, even when I get frustrated during the times I am so clearly underemployed. I miss Target and Nordstrom, but Amazon ships here pretty quickly.
I've adapted. I've saved a lot of money not being able to go wherever I want or have all of my favorite stores at my disposal.
I still don't fit in, per se, but I'm a lot more confident in myself than I was when I lived here during my clerkship, and I'm starting to mind less.
But Small Town will never have the ocean. It will never have gorgeous beach houses to ride my bike past and dream of a "what if." It will never have a "strand" that I can walk up in down in shorts and a bathing suit. It will never be what LA is.
And then the Lord hit me with his truth:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
It is not my job to dream dreams of what might have been. It is not my place to say, "but I loved it there, and now I'm here!" It is my heart's desire to ask God to do what he wills, and I will follow.
It is my job to be content.
To be content when I'm landlocked. To be content when I'm underemployed. To be content in any and every circumstance. And so, after a morning of homesickness, I will count the blessings I receive every day in Small Town. His mercy, His grace, His abundance, His love, His provision, and His answering of this prayer: that I wouldn't have to spend another day living hundreds of miles away from my love.
Thank you Lord Jesus.