my 20s

“maybe it’s not about you”

i will probably talk about this little lady a lot on the blog. her name is ilona. she’s fiercely compassionate and would do anything for her fam. we love our polish mama.

bass lake, ca

bass lake, ca

i remember the moment we had this conversation very vividly. i had just cried my eyeballs out and my mom was sitting next to me on the carpet as i did that awful gasping that happens after a good old-fashioned meltdown. she had recently told me the “slim” chance we would be moving to new mexico was no longer slim.

albuquerque was literally the last place in america that i wanted to live. no joke. it was almost funny (except it wasn’t) because my mom and i had talked about places we just weren’t attracted to. top of the list? new mexico.

colorado is amazing and i loved the life we had created there after being uprooted from washington. i didn’t want to go home on college breaks to some adobe hut (that is what i thought we would live in – god bless my teenage self) where i had no friends AND was even farther from my university.

i just remember feeling like i couldn’t see the reasoning behind certain events in my life, especially so many big moves for myself and my family.

this internal struggle has maybe happened to you too. there’s that feeling in your heart that you know everything happens according to His will but then that feeling in your head that tells you to stop being so trusting and that maybe life is just super unfair.

anyways, i couldn’t get a hold on myself and felt so defeated. i had just finished spewing a bunch of helpless, down-on-myself chatter when my mom just drops this truth bomb:

“ania, it’s not always about you.”

i realize that this really isn’t earth-shattering. she wasn’t being rude or condescending. she explained that sometimes things happen in our life and we will never see the clear connection between the dots or feel the direct blessing on us. but that might be because someone else is benefitting from our loss, our heartbreak, our accident. maybe it seems cruel but i think it’s kind of beautiful. and it most definitely has helped me deal with sickness, loss and discouragement.

it’s like this: the doctor that cures your symptoms was able to do that only after learning from a particularly difficult case in which the patient didn’t survive. or you didn’t get accepted into your dream masters program because you would meet the love of your life on the first day of school at your second option. or you move home from college to a blazing hot agriculture hub in california, thinking there could never be a reason for this. but then you realize how available you are for your loved ones who needed your support more than ever this summer.

in our case, we talked about how perhaps we could be the exact person someone else needs. maybe that was why God was taking us out of colorado and placing us in new mexico. maybe it wasn’t about us. maybe it was about someone seven hours away who needed a friend or a confidant.

three years later, my parents moved again. this time to fresno, ca. you might be surprised to hear that this was the hardest move despite them having only lived there for three years.

my parents had slowly fallen for albuquerque. they loved the temperate weather, had made good friends their age, my mom was getting her masters in gardening and it was our favorite house we’ve ever lived in.

you want to know one of the reasons i think it was the hardest move? i think it was because they felt needed. they were dear friends with an elderly man that happened to be a monsignor and held daily mass everyday in his home chapel which my mom and goldendoodle attended. they still talk to him and he’s been the first call many times this summer in times of despair. the single mom across the street appreciated my mom’s listening ear as she balanced a million things and her daughters loved having me come over on school holidays to play with them. the elderly couple who lived to our left were happy to keep bailee as my parents traveled to visit us around the country and the husband appreciated my upbeat mom as he suffered from cancer.

my parents had let themselves fill the gap in new mexico and in turn, had been filled to the brim themselves.

did we want to move to new mexico? no, not at all. but did new mexico need us? yes.

this shift of thinking has honestly changed my life and i have needed this reminder myself as i have been challenged this summer in ways i wasn’t expecting or prepared for. and most definitely in ways that do not seem to have direct blessing on me. i have had to think to myself, “who could this struggle be a blessing for? how am i growing now in ways that could help me in the future? who could need me here?”

i think about that conversation often and how if i just change my perspective, i can shift my attitude. more of Him, less of me. more of opening my eyes and heart to how He is trying to bring me happiness through different ways than that one “perfect” tunnel vision in my head.

in so many cases, how He is trying to bring me to others. after all, it’s not all about me.


listened to Francesca Battistelli’s Holy Spirit while writing. lyric gem: let us become more aware of Your presence.

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