It was a long five days. Last Wednesday, I packed my little bags and hit an early morning flight to North Carolina for the annual She Speaks Conference; an amazing gathering of over eight hundred hopeful writers and speakers.
Boy, was I in for some surprises.
For starters, the day before I left, I broke a blood vessel below my eye that was such a lovely shade of neon-red, I just knew it was sure to impress every publisher I’d meet; (into my suitcase went my extra-thick makeup concealer). I ripped my favorite black sweater on the plane before we even took off, got a migraine, and got sick on the second plane – praying the whole time I wouldn’t throw up on the poor, unsuspecting gentleman sitting next to me. I slept – and I use that term loosely – an average of 3-4 hours a night, experienced a six-hour power-outage one night that took out half the city, my lights, and my air conditioner, broke out all over my face (thank goodness for that extra-thick concealer), woke up in the middle of my three-hours sleep one night to a woman screaming, set my alarm clock wrong one day, left my much-needed coffee behind one morning, and waited patiently for my flight home which was delayed so that the flight attendant could get the things she had accidentally left back at her hotel. Oh. And got another migraine.
Yeah. Funny. Although I had very little expectations of the trip before I left, I certainly did NOT expect all of that. And all of that didn’t do anything to help make this trip any better because, well, I wasn’t feeling all that great in the first place.
Because, honestly? I didn’t want to be there.
You see, although I was excited when I had first booked the trip, everything in me that week wanted to cancel. And I mean, everything. But because I had already made a commitment, that wasn’t an option. And so, along with my luggage, I took a few other pieces of baggage with me that were weighing heavily on my soul:
• The thought that there are already a ton of amazing writers and speakers out there. I do not need to be added to the mix.
• The thought that I’m wasting my time. And my husbands hard-earned money.
• The thought that I’m not as good as them. After all, although I’m a hard-core Jesus fan, I don’t listen to Christian music much of the time. I like Aerosmith. And Heart.
Yup. All of that went on that plane ride with me. But as burdensome as those were, there was another, even heavier, piece of baggage that went along for the ride:
It’s too late now. I’m just too old.
That weight almost broke me. I carried it around with me the whole conference; into every breakout session, up and down the halls, breakfast, lunch, the bathroom…and all the way back home.
It almost did me in.
I swear. If you ever need a pick-me-up or a better perspective, He’s the one to go to. And so, I spent some extra time with Him yesterday morning. And as I did, I felt a bit better. And later on in the day, after eating Chick-fil-A, something profound dawned on me:
I’m not dead yet.
That’s right. I’m still alive. I may be old. (Okay, older.) I may not have the energy my young-adult kids have, the curiosity my grandsons have, or the strength I used to have, but I am still here.
And as long as I’m still here, it is not over.
That means that as long as I have breath – and ability – and will – I can keep on keeping on. No. I will keep on going. Because, well,
why the heck not?
As God would so graciously have it, he solidified this in a conversation I had with my sister later that afternoon. See, she’s another one of those brave souls – feeling old as she enters nursing school in her mid-forties. And as we shared our struggles, she mentioned that a 76-year-old woman graduated from nursing school last year. Seventy-six! Dang, I just want to give that chick a high-five and tell her, You go, girl!
But instead, I say that to myself. And my sister. And you.
Because if you’re reading this, I’m pretty sure you’re still alive. And if you’re still alive, it aint’ over. And if it ain’t over, you’ve got something to do. Something to contribute. Something to share.
So go do it. And if you want, share with me what you’re going to do. Me? I’ll post this blog. And look forward to writing the next one. :)