Back in high school I swore I would never go to East Carolina University. I would not end up in a little city, middle of nowhere, even for a second. Instead, I packed my bags, flew to New York under the impression that this is where I would be somebody. This is where I would show myself that I could make a difference in the world.
Fast forward two years. Guess where I am? Yep, Greenville, North Carolina, home of East Carolina University. God is funny, and good like that. Tell Him you absolutely won't do something, and He will at some point, remind you who is ultimately in control. And that's not a bad thing, it's a blessing. He cares and watches over us like we do our own children, only perfectly.
I wish I could say I moved to Greenville with a good attitude and a thankful heart. After all, my parents were paying for my college education and bought a townhouse for my sister and I to live in. But no, I hated it, and I vocalized it often. I wish someone had said to me, "Bloom where you are planted". It took me 10 years to learn that lesson. Ten years of wanting to be somewhere else, wanting to do something else, thinking I couldn't possibly be who I was supposed to be as long as I was there.
I was living as though my life had been put on hold. Where was the beauty in that flat land? Where was the excitement of amazing museums or Broadway shows? Where were the mountain hikes to waterfalls or winding roads through the forest? Where was my inspiration and purpose?
I'll tell you where I finally found it. All around me. I found it in my community. I found it in my church. I found it in my home. I found it in the fields of cotton and the abandoned barns. It was in the kindness and generosity of people in that town. And in turn, the kindness and generosity I could show others. My eyes had been opened and I knew I could thrive there. Life was now, not when I drove out of that town on my way to something "bigger".
God used that town to teach me so many things. And you know, when I made my great big move across the country from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean a few months ago, I cried. I miss the beauty and sweetness that I had only just found. I miss the friendships that I had opened myself up to. Life is about investing in the people around you. Where you are located isn't an accident, and the people that come into your live is for a purpose. Invest your heart, be a light. Bloom where you are planted.