Last week at my 28th birthday dinner, as I looked at the people surrounding the table I knew two things to be true:
- They were so important to me
- There is no way I could have imagined I would be sitting there with them.
It settled over me that these precious people were all apart of my second mile.
“Ordinary lives are lived in the first mile; extraordinary lives only happen when we are willing to go the second mile” -Christine Caine
I am in deep in the adventure of building a vision I never could have imagine for my life. It’s filled with hard work and acutely learning how to balance vision and capacity. No matter where life takes me, or how I evolve, refine, mature, learn, fail, celebrate…. part of me always feels like fourteen year-old Suzanna.
If you had told me at fourteen I would be living in Nashville, TN building a creative production firm alongside some of the best humans I’ve ever known, surrounded by friends that make life so rich it’s humbling – and that the few years before — would be filled with working to end the longest running conflict in Africa. That I would have years filled with deep friendships, wading the trenches of a movement, and pushing myself past every wall that said I was too tired. Years of love and loss and grace. If you had told me that at twenty-eight , I would be recognizing my purpose and that it was calling forth things within me I didn’t know were there.
Fourteen- year old Suzanna, would have told you “ you can’t be right” In the limited expectation of my life, and the shy but nice girl of who I was, my greatest dream was to throwing beautiful parties, be married, own a home and to be figuring out motherhood.
But, as I sat at the table on my 28th birthday, it settled over me — my life is none of those things.
It’s far more beautiful, unexpected and uncomfortable.
It’s in the discomfort that I’ve experienced sweet grace. In walking into the unknown — solely in faith that I’ve encountered joy as I had only hoped for.
I believe that we are meant to live expansive, extraordinary lives. That it is God’s greatest dream for our lives. Full of adventure, love and magic. But, it doesn’t stop there. The fullness is in the hard work that calls forth endurance within yourself and others that takes your life to a different sphere of impact.
Years filled with hard work on behalf of others — the kind that changes the world. I am starting to understand that to truly to find yourself/know your purpose — you have to run that second mile.
When you think of your most important relationships, none of them are made true in a moment. Its spans time, trials, restlessness, disappointment, loss, joy, hope, of saying I see you, I know you, I love you even when it’s really, really hard to. It’s in the second mile that those relationships are made extraordinary. They become the ones that define your life and story.
It’s also when you see your dreams worthy of that same type of endurance and care that your life becomes expansive. Breaking through the slow fog that settles over you in the day to day mediocrity.
When you decide to keep moving when you’re tired, overwhelmed, or anxious of the terrain ahead.
I wish I could say I’ve been a champion at choosing to always keep moving fearlessly. But, there have too many days of choosing not to run — because being tired was real and the effort to move wasn’t stronger than the one to rest.
But, I’ve started to see that if you start paying attention, you realize that you’ve been training for that second mile your whole life, and if you just trust — it will almost be effortless. It definitely doesn’t take away the choice to keep moving, but if you let it, it will release the pressure.
Friend, one thing I’ve also come to understand deeply, is that the second mile is made possible with community. Find your people, share your dreams, dig in and start running it together. That tribe of yours changes everything you ever thought was possible for your life. Because it becomes less about your own personal success but more about everyone encountering and living out their best dreams.
I think living well is being willing to run that second mile — and then doing it. With our relationships, purpose, faith journeys, love, self care and communities.
May we dare to find the people that will take on that second mile – over and over again – with us and challenge one another to dream daring dreams with a steady heart.