Today’s letter comes to you from a woman whose voice I treasure, wisdom I crave, and friendship I cannot imagine myself without. Together, we have almost driven the wrong vehicle off the car rental lot, attempted to repair a sagging car bumper [thankfully not on a rental], logged hours of conversations in crowded coffee shops, and eaten far too much queso in one sitting. We’ve been referred to as sisters numerous times, and I think that’s fitting since we often wish we were. Though an author’s book brought us together, it’s now deep connection that keeps us going. You’re going to love her words; I promise.
I apologize for how I behaved when we first met. It wasn’t you, it was me. I was mad at you for not being the other states that claimed my heart. I longed for Midwest autumn days and coastal summer evenings, but you’re neither seasonal or crisp.
I spent most of my first year with you planning my escape. Not very neighborly, I know. Putting down roots seemed fruitless since I planned to leave. Natives toted their Texas shaped everything and newcomers raved about you, but I didn’t get it; I didn’t get you.
Now I see I was expecting you to be something you were never meant to be. I wanted you to be like my previous chapter when the page had already turned. The scene change happened the moment I arrived, but it was up to me to bring my character to life. No one wants to see a play where the character isn’t fully engaged in the scene she’s in.
Being with you has taught me that where we live, where we truly come to life, has little to do with our street address. Home is not about where we get our mail as much as it is about where we thrive. I realized what I really missed was the down-in-my-bones comfort I felt being in my own skin, but such peace and confidence come from God, not from a place.
Whether we are where we expected to be or miles from what feels like home, there is beauty to be found. Every moment spent longing for a place we left or have yet to go is a moment lost. I want all the moments, every single one.
The thing is, Texas, you weren’t in my plans, but it turns out some of the most beautiful scenery is along the route we never planned to take. As soon as I stopped charting my course away from you, I paid more attention—I noticed your wide-open cobalt sky and peaceful rolling hills. You’re pretty, that’s a fact, but nothing holds a candle to the people you harbor under those giant fluffy clouds.
You have introduced me to so many of my favorite people, many of whom weren’t born here. Sorry, but we both know it’s true. One of my dearest friends and the author of this blog was raised just an hour from my childhood home, yet we would never have met had we not both moved here. And of course, there’s my treasured hometown friend who lived her last days on your soil. I had the sacred honor to walk by her side from first diagnosis to final farewell—something I’d have missed had I run from you.
My native neighbors have welcomed me into the wonderful combination of hearty laughter and authentic TexMex, which, as it happens, pair beautifully together. To think I went all this time without knowing the healing powers of chips and queso. We were meant to be together all along.
You have been a good teacher and a generous host through the seasons. Yep, it turns out you have them after all. I don’t see them as readily in the foliage, but there is an undeniable rhythm here. I feel the sting of winter in my grief and the warmth of spring in the bloom of authentic friends. You aren’t tied to a calendar, which has taught me how to hold plans loosely and open my eyes to God’s goodness right in front of me.
As long as our mail is delivered under your sapphire sky, I promise to appreciate your beautiful scenery and do my part to live fully on the stage you have set.
Melinda is a speaker and writer whose home is filled with equal measures of sugar, spice, and crumbs. Her heart belongs to her husband Dirk and their beloved daughters, Emerson and Ainsley. She will follow any sign that leads to vintage treasures, second chances, free refills, and discount travel.
She chose this picture since it was taken on her first visit to Magnolia, where she unabashedly got her Texas on. Please note the flannel, boots, and log she paid actual cash money for.
Read more of her words at http://www.melindamattson.com.