The other morning I was driving to work. It was overcast, as it usually is this time of year in Portland. I drive through the heart of the city on my commute and am met with many, many shades of gray. This song was playing. I had just enough time to swing by a drive-thru and get a cup of coffee. The best part of my commute is that I can see the southwest hills in a sweeping landscape as I cross over the Ross Island Bridge. Jeffrey is constantly telling me to look at the hills, to take it all in.
It was the sort of morning where I was just feeling thankful for so many things. It was a welcome feeling after what has been many, many mornings of feeling pretty lost, confused, and uncertain about many, many things. But on this particular morning, I could recognize the beauty and fullness of my life so clearly and so perfectly that I almost could've cried.
As I crossed over the bridge and wondered — audibly — at my great fortune, I noticed (reallllllly noticed) the southwest hills. It would have been impossible to miss them. The trees were bursting with autumnal colors. The gray Portland sky was the perfect backdrop for really capturing and amplifying the bright, vivid colors of the leaves. And I couldn't believe it.
I thought of all the times Jeffrey has told me to look at the hills, to take them in, to immerse myself in the beauty of the city where we live and I have been stubborn. I haven't done it. I've pretended not to care or not to be in awe of it or to find more beauty and joy elsewhere. And it's because I've stiff armed Portland for so long. Moving here brought all my insecurities right to the surface and I was forced to acknowledge them and challenge my best self to do the work of walking through the dark parts to get to where the light is.
There are still so many moments when I feel lost or question my purpose or wonder what I'm doing in this rainy city or feel thoroughly confused and uncertain and foggy, but those moments make way for the moments when I see everything clearly and can glimpse the light and recognize the sheer beauty that is the life I'm building. And a life needs the dark and the light. The confusion and the clarity. That's what makes it whole and rich and vibrant and beautiful.