Can I be honest? When we first met, I didn’t like you. I thought you were intimidating at best, and on my worst days, I thought you might destroy me. You and change teamed up and threatened the very stability of my Enneagram nine-ness. Your very existence disrupted my peace and tried to trip me. So it’s no wonder that we didn’t get along at first.
I used to avoid you the way exes do when they see the other in public.
*Quickly looks at the floor, pivots, knocks over aisle display in store.*
I liked my life, my world, the cozy existence built up over years of living and breathing. But then you came in—charging through the space I had organized and crafted with care. You were like one of those characters from a bad medicine commercial—tearing the world apart, destroying someone’s health bit by bit.
Just imagine when a girl is trying to walk her stubborn dog who tugs back on the leash. That was me when you tried to lead me into a season of change.
And then—against my will—I followed you. I let you drag me into transition, and something beautiful happened.
I realized you couldn’t destroy me.
Yes, you disrupted my normal. You shook up what I counted on and expected. Tearing me from my comfort zone, you stood me in a place completely unfamiliar. You took me from home—from every thought and feeling that word embodies—and dropped me in a place I hardly recognized. And though my knees wobbled and sweat forever lived on my palms, I realized all was well.
I realized you were only the guide into something new. You held my hand and walked me step by step into change. It felt as if you would be a constant companion, but you weren’t. You dropped me off, helped me acclimate to this new world, and then you left.
Because transition and change don’t last forever. The roads that were once unfamiliar and intimidating, chaotic and foreign eventually become home. They become running routes and the commute to work. These roads lead to the grocery store and to the best cup of coffee in town. They become the highways to places I never knew existed but can’t live without now.
These roads which were once unknown became the familiar, well-worn paths to this beautiful life.
So I’ve learned not to be afraid or at least less afraid. I’ve learned to take your hand and let you guide me, because it’s easier than being dragged.
That place you lead me into still fills me with anxiety some days; the unknown can be rather intimidating. But on my good days, I remember that town you took me to on the border of Thailand and Burma. I see the unfamiliar roads, the bike ride to work. I remember trying to find my four-mile running loop. My mind can still picture the back highways and the roads to the most beautiful waterfalls. I remember that without you, there would be no memories—only the question of “what if?”
And I refuse to let this question have my story.
Instead of asking “What if…” I get to hold faces and names and moments in my mind. Houses and streets and that small training center near the border live close to my heart, shutting out of the fear of the unknown.
So when you tell me to take your hand and let you guide me into a new season filled with transition and change, I try to remember Mae Sot. I try to remember my little house and my incredible team. I remember the women—those who live past their fears every day.
These days you talk of a new city and a new job. And you tell me it will be good.
When I get overwhelmed, I close my eyes and imagine those roads—the ones around that town in Thailand. I see the houses and businesses, the potholes and the hills that feel like mountains. I remember that they felt intimidating and scary and full of unknowns not so long ago.
Now they are my homecoming, the place my heart aches for.
And I remember that change and transition don’t last forever. That these roads—wherever they are and wherever they lead—can become the familiar, well-worn paths in this beautiful life.