The March melt reminds us how we can reimagine our transitions of personal growth and have fun in the process
The icy top, frozen over, crusted overnight. We awoke to puddles that could crackle with a quick tap of a foot. Those were the most fun, coveted by all, and my friends and I would chase from puddle to puddle, eyes darting around the playground trying to find more. Sometimes the puddle, thick with ice underneath, would not cave. But you knew it was just a matter of time, water evaporating in the warm afternoon ahead. We would try again tomorrow with that one.
March is a frustrating month in the North, to be sure. We know winter’s end is coming, but big blizzards have fooled us before. My dad’s heart attack came as he shoveled snow off the front step after a heavy March snowfall. Thank God he survived it, but the scars remain—for all of us.
As the renewed energy of spring begins to swirl inside, I feel a restlessness and an impulse to grow. In my own work, I feel the desire for expansion, to reach out to interesting people, people who inspire me. The vision I have is to gather and connect people I know and people they know and people those people know and so on into a bigger circle of everyday leaders leading right where they are with everything they are. I have always been fascinated by people’s stories. I am a curious person by nature, and I see connections everywhere. I love to learn from those around me, and I believe we all discount so much of who we are and what we each have experienced.
I am an educator, from a long line of educators. It is in my blood. My grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse, my mom just a young girl in tow. In the icy cold winter mornings, my grandmother bore the responsibility to heat the school house early in the morning before the other children arrived to start their lessons. She grew up poor, without much to call her own. In the 1950s, while raising children, she studied and earned her principal’s license. While she never practiced, I imagine her ambition swirling inside her. New levels, new goals, new growth. It must have been so hard—many mouths to feed, many bills to pay, not enough hours in the day to do all the things your heart is calling you to do. It’s so easy to feel frozen and stuck amidst this unthawing phase.
By this same historical lens, I am also a pioneer and a farmer, connected to the land. My great-great grandmother Mary came to America from Bohemia in the 1880s. She left her fiancé to start a new life in an area that her sister had moved to just years before. She married another Bohemian man, brought here as a baby by his mother also looking for a new life. His hard work and the kindness of a married couple without children of their own earned him a farm that remains in my family to this day. My own children run and play, feet touching sacred ground of vision, sacrifice, and love.
It's so easy to feel frozen and stuck amidst this unthawing phase.
Movement and Measure
I’ve discounted that too. For years, I worried my family’s ties to that very land limited growth and opportunity. In me the pioneer spirit fought with the other longing to settle on land of one’s own— to keep, care for, and pass on. I discounted the values of hard work and community and history and heritage that my family, my dad especially, taught us growing up. It’s so easy to think your life would be easier “if only my parents could _________”.
I think so many of us have done that. As we pay our student loans, move away to new cities, or research how to set up our businesses, we think if only I grew up with__________, this would be easier. We look at our own children, and our actions today weigh heavy with wishes to create something different for our own children that we didn’t have. I look at my children, energetic spirits and fiery red hair, and I am certain they will feel the same, despite my efforts otherwise.
Measure of Faith
Perhaps we all have this desire to grow. This restless energy, fits of growth then periods of freezing over stuck in fear or uncertainty or competing responsibilities and priorities. Part of my work is to explore how to navigate this space. I want to have conversations about how people wrestle with these moments of finding work that has meaning, that feels aligned with what God is calling them to do. How do they balance the realities of daily life with other avenues that bring their lives connection, creativity, and joy?
"each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." Romans 12:3
These frozen puddles speckle the landscape before us. For some, the frozen puddle is love; for others, career; and others, an unknown yearning of the heart yet to be discovered. We can become angry that these frozen puddles exist as part of the cycle of nature, or we can approach them with childlike wonder, and leap and crackle and splash and play.
Lead with Grace, The Podcast celebrates the mosaic of everyday leaders leading right where they are with everything they are. Blending the practical and profound, conversations explores stories of vocation, especially as it intersects with communication, collaboration, connection, and calling.