It's the Quiet that Keeps us Going
I recently completed a journaling assignment that required me to document monumental moments from different time periods in my life. More specifically, I was instructed to recall big memories that made me feel fulfilled and then, ones that made me feel empty. While reading through the instructions, I felt that I could easily plot such a timeline. I assumed that my highs would be my wins and my lows would be my losses, and to some extent, this held true. However, what I didn’t anticipate was the fact that every single up and down that has defined me has been centered around one thing: relationships. Literally, the moments that made me feel most alive were not about reaching a goal, they were the feelings and interactions that encouraged me to dream: forming friendships, falling in love, feeling like I made an impact, or having someone invest in me. In turn, the moments when I felt the most heartbroken were about losing friends, feeling alone, or lacking a sense of community. Those were the moments that made me feel like dreaming wasn’t worth it, or even that I wasn’t worth it.
Most of the good moments weren’t extraordinary things or times that you would snap a photo. I don’t have an album of sitting on my best friend’s couch, drinking coffee and talking for 4 hours. I don’t have videos to replay of coming home to my Nashville apartment at 10:00 pm on a Sunday night after spending hours sitting around with my sorority sisters, not really “doing” anything. But, I remember what those moments felt like; they’re the moments when you know you’re in the exact right place, doing the things you were called to do.
Ultimately, the moments that make us who we are aren’t the things we document. They’re the simple reminders that life is bigger than we realized and our stories have more chapters than we thought necessary. We don't accomplish big goals every day, so it’s the decisions we make leading up to those big wins that define whether or not the end result is going to be celebrated alone or in community.
I’m a big believer in the fact that people don’t often remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel. I don’t remember the songs we sang in church last summer when one of my best friends visited Colorado, but I remember the feeling of squeezing her hand and realizing that we were still taken care of, hundreds of miles apart and years later. I know that day was a turning point in my attitude towards the chapter I’m living in, even if I didn’t have my thoughts together enough to articulate the change that had happened in my head. We don’t have a means of articulating the things that keep us going, but it’s often the seemingly meaningless moments that teach us the most profound lessons.
Relationships, whether they be with our closest friends or a casual acquaintance, are a gift designed to make us realize the importance of our moments. It’s so easy to live life on auto pilot, doing what is required of you and working towards a goal. It’s our interactions with other people that make us take a step back, evaluate our course, and often shift the direction. People provide the insight that we aren’t objective enough to see for ourselves. They are the mirrors that remind us that we are living, breathing things with fears and hopes and the need to be validated. No matter how hard you work, you don’t have the ability fulfill your own dreams. No one wants to reach the finish line alone, with no one around them to enjoy their success. Rather, it’s the quiet moments that keeps us going: the support of relationships that give us the courage to move forward.