Journal Two: Thoughts and Writing

Staying but not Stuck



I was meant to be on a plane today. Instead, I unpacked my suitcase on a borrowed floor, bought some donuts for my little sister to celebrate her 11th birthday, and then drove to Grand Lake with my journal and guitar. Today, I sat with myself for a very long time. I was meant to wake up in Norway tomorrow, and every day for the next three months. I had been planning and preparing for this new adventure all summer, but 72 hours before my flights were to take off, everything changed.


I took this self portrait last week, in the midst of all of the tension I had been feeling, between a secretly divided heart that has been unsure but not admitting to it, until it came to a point I couldn’t ignore anymore, and all of the sudden I was awake in the middle of night praying… as you do.

I ultimately came to fully own that it is just not the right time for me to be leaving here yet. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think I have ever felt fully ready for the travels I have pursued in the past, but this time, it was a different kind of unready. Sometimes, I think it is okay to be unready for the things ahead and still go. In fact, I think it is incredibly beneficial to put yourself out of that sweet old comfort zone. But this time, I was unready to leave what I have here, emotionally but also practically. I was rushing out. I was cutting corners, exhausting myself to the point of sickness, working at a computer screen for such long hours that migraines were a regular occurence, trying to close an entire wedding season in a number of days, and I became very unsettled about the fact that my goal was to simply send out work as quickly as I could, so that I could leave. I felt like I was compromising room for creativity and heart in my work. I care too much about my clients and their stories to not deliver anything I know is not my best, even if it is only myself who knows it is not my best. I am too grateful for this work. I am too grateful for any person who has chosen to invest in me to ever want to do anything but fully invest in the work I return to them. I thought I would be able to do that, in these circumstances, but I was wrong. Despite all of my planning, best efforts, and prayerful choices, I was wrong. And it took me until the last second to figure that one out. Yes, I am very, VERY human (and probably an overly optimistic human at that). Life sure does have a way of humbling you sometimes.

All of that to say, my work is not the only thing keeping me here. In my heart of hearts, I know there is still more gold to find in this season, in this place, in these people. Staying does not necessarily mean I have to be stuck. And perhaps, it has taken the dream of going to Norway for me to let go of some of the things I had been holding onto and open my heart up to newness.

I didn’t resign the lease on my apartment, turned down all wedding work for the fall, and have now cancelled my flights to Norway. Suddenly, I am left with an empty page. I think that should scare me, but it really doesn’t. Because I have this knowing that this was meant to happen all along. None of it was a waste. My heart is in a completely different posture than it was in the spring, and in the same places I felt so burned out and dry, I am now ready to dream again. The hard choice of staying has only given me greater intentions to make the most of this time.

And today I think I low-key embodied every moody artist girl stereotype there is, forced myself into solitude at the cottage on a rainy day, and put new dreams on a piece of paper.

I am writing all of this partly to inform the couple dozen of sweet, adoptive grandmothers in my life who will be asking the “what” and “why”. There it is. Norway is still very much a consideration for the spring, but it isn’t for the immediate future. I am also writing this to say, “sorry Fredericton, you’re stuck with me for a while, but please book me thank you”. And lastly, I am writing this to hopefully encourage anyone who has gone through the whole life-pulling-a-“psyche”-on-you thing. Breathe, friend, it’s all gon’ be okay, even if you don’t understand. I think we all love to reflect on those times of unknown in retrospect, but sometimes it can be hard to fully embrace them while we are in the midst of it all. I’m going to try, by the Lord’s grace, to do just that. Embrace these days with open hands and a hopeful heart. And if you are too, know you are most definitely not alone. Let’s not have anything figured out together.

- S

Photographs from this morning. Today is good.

sarah kierstead