Intentional Life with Commentary


It's Spring and here's an essay

Huntsville, Alabama was labeled "The Valley of the Sickness" by the Native Americans who once lived here: a factoid I was told recently while at the doctor. I've been very wrapped up in this new thing in my life called allergies.

Perhaps you've heard of them?

Perhaps you're life-long enemies?

Well. They're new to me and to be perfectly blunt -- they are rubbish.

So there's that for you. In other springtime news, the grass is green and trees are blooming! (See photo above if you don't believe me.) I've been walking around with my mouth agape and my iPhone camera at the ready. It seems that the valley (of the sickness) is waking up after her winter hibernation and is proudly displaying all the beauty she kept pent-up within her for months. I love driving around town just to see what trees have changed in the last week and which fields are now brilliant with color. Witnessing seasonal changes is one of the delights of moving to a new place in my opinion.

Hey! Let's completely bounce off the topic at hand. I'd love to share just a little bit of my inward life with you in the most rambling way possible. ;) It's how I do it.

Care to join me on a little journey of the memory?

It was spring and I was 22. I was putting the finishing touches on my degree in Public Administration, working hard to complete all upper-division courses in a shockingly small window of time. I held a 21 unit course-load, had two internships for government agencies and tutored students in English on the side. Life was full and I was just barely hanging onto my health and sanity. When graduation day finally arrived I was riding high on a cloud of glee (albeit zombie-like glee.) This was a time of triumph and confidence: I had persevered through a challenging season and made it to the finish line feeling more in love with my God and in tune with my self than I'd ever been before.

Just a few short months later and my mountain-top had turned into a basin. I returned to my parents' home - of my own accord and for multiple reasons - and felt like my life had taken at least two steps in the wrong direction. I applied for countless jobs and was met with an equal number of rejections. I felt entirely alone in my struggle to maintain confidence in my value as a person. I began to doubt my abilities as a young professional as well as my desirability as a prospective employee. My faith went through a dry season. I had no grasp of the Lord's direction for my life. Life was utterly blah. (Which is totally a legit psychological description according to the DSM.) And it stayed blah for a good while.

Fast forward two years! (You were getting depressed, huh? Don't worry, we're back on a mountain-top and the view is fiiiiiiine.) I was again in a place of strength: I had worked on my relationship with the Lord and was experiencing the awesome combination of head knowledge and heart feeling in my faith. I had worked hard at my job (Yes! I did eventually land a job or actually a job landed in my lap) and felt like I had gained plenty of experience and honed some of my marketable skills. I'd met my future husband and I was a bride, loved and pursued.  This was a really REALLY great season.

After a quick jump over one year we find ourselves in real-time. Like, this year, this month, today. Let's call this season a valley - not a basin but definitely not a mountaintop. Yep, it's a valley (of the sickness! Ha, just kidding. But also not kidding.) And gosh darn-it, if life isn't kicking my butt right now. I've found myself in a weird state of insecurity about just what on earth I'm supposed to be doing with my life. What are my dreams again? What are my strengths again? I think maybe I've lost them. Where do I fit in here? And oh my gosh, I live in Alabama. I LIVE IN ALABAMA. Am I even okay with that?

This is Natalie, reporting to you live from the valley (of the sickness) with much sneezing and itching of the eyes, and much questioning of the spirit.

(And also with much thankfulness for a wonderful husband who is not only my confidante but also a veteran sufferer of the allergies.)

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