My reality was I had a great job in the Senate working for someone I admired deeply. I had a house full of roommates I adored and who loved me and supported me just for being Jenny. I had community and traditions and a well-decorated room that made our Capitol Hill rowhouse feel like home. My roommates had purchased my lappljung rug for my 25th birthday, the frames lining my bookshelf had been styled, and my newest joy (my guitar) hung on the wall ready for practice. Then I moved. I chose to move.
The move quickly became my reality. In a flash I woke up under my same white duvet, tangled around my heating blanket, firmly planted on my gifted rug in Nashville, Tennessee. The bed was the same, the rug in my room hadn’t changed, and the body that lay in bed was mine. But when I opened my eyes on Tuesday morning, I froze. I now lived in a totally different city and state than where I had spent the last two years. This city was familiar — I spent four years in Nashville for college — but it was different at the same time. I was different.
Change oftens happens like that. It’s sudden and sneaks up on you, and the worst part is that I never know what it’s going to feel like until I do it, until I move. Change is the knife in my gut that reminds me I am simply human, and small, and have all of these limits. Change is the force that moves me, literally and metaphorically. Change is my reality. The reality that confines me everyday is the context of my life – not the exception to it.
As I’ve lived out the transition these last few days, I’ve wondered if maybe God made it that way on purpose. If the very tension of change, the constancy of it, is the mechanism in our daily lives that turns us toward him.
Choosing change is always more appealing to think about than it is to actually live. Living change, and the consequences that come with it is hard, very unglamorous work. Change is full of tears and questioning and anxiety and fear. It’s putting one foot in front of the other, because you believe some place deep down that the place you are going is better, more whole, more meaningful, than the place you have been. Things always have to change if you want to be somewhere else. Change takes work.
I’ve had a lot of meaningful conversations about dream chasing in the last few months. In each of these conversations, I’ve been inspired to dig deep into what I care about, what brings me energy, joy, life, and most importantly, what I find beautiful. The one thing that has been consistent in each of these conversations is this type of living, this values driven, dream chasing, intentional living, is a lot of work. It is work to look honestly at our lives, to be true with ourselves about the things we like and the things we care about, and to be uncomfortable in the short term so we are able to chase something greater in the long term. Just as I’d like to skip out on transition and change, I’m quick to forget that it is the hard work and the grit that allows me to reap what I sow.
As I step into this new season in an old place, I’m working to embrace both change and hard work. To welcome change as a reminder of my deep dependence on God, and to breathe it in as fresh air for my day. I’m trying to expect hard work, to even be grateful for it. If the day is hard, it’s a gentle reminder that the dreams I’m chasing are worth running after. Living in reality involves both change and hard work. But reality has become my new friend, and as I embrace it, my new home becomes even sweeter.
Jenny Hamrick formerly worked in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Senator Bob Corker. She now lives back in Nashville, TN. To read more of her writing, click here.