Before even moving in.

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The A/C felt cool against my skin. The West Texas heat has a way of creeping in and settling on every surface. My ford pick-up was heading east down a long two-lane highway. My favorite music playing in the background, but I wasn’t truly focused on the lyrics. They sat and talked, one in the front seat, the other in the back, and although they were close in proximity, miles of space separated us. I felt as though I was trapped in my own thoughts, consumed with an overwhelming feeling of fear, anticipation, excitement, and nerves. I felt as though my stomach would betray me. Landscape after landscape, mile after mile passed by and as I passed a green highway sign that said, “Throckmorton County.” I opened my mouth and said, “Here goes nothing.”

Mom and Melissa laughed, but I knew that they both felt the tension that had enveloped me. I was trying to joke, be a goof, avoid the conflicting thoughts that were flying. The final question of, “Am I really doing this?” echoed in my mind as I pulled up beside the beautiful courthouse and stepped out of my pickup. Melissa met me with a soft smile and a warm hug. I sighed.

So this is really it?

The anticipation of meeting the other fellows was somewhat silenced as Melissa and I made conversation heading to the cabins we would be staying in. The gorgeous pastureland flew by us, surprisingly greener than I had expected. Rain can change a landscape so much. We finally pulled up to the cabin and as I unloaded my grey, overly large, and almost inconveniently sized suitcases, I was greeted by John. A large smile and an even larger hug eased my anxious heart.

I waited only thirty minutes before the other fellows pulled up, and the nerves returned. Will they like me? Will I be able to make friends? Such junior high, school girl questions rattled in my mind as the introductions began. After a day on the lake, settling down at supper and beginning to get to know each other I felt a sudden reassurance that, I am home.

Not home in the physical sense. Not a structure. Home had evolved into the state of which my heart and mind were in, and the people that surrounded me. Home needed to evolve for me. I needed to know that no matter if I was in Throckmorton, Texas or in Ghana, West Africa, that I could feel steady, stable, and full of life. I had a support system around me that was present the minute we were all in the same room. I knew, at that point, that this journey would change my life, more so than I would change lives. And now, as I sit and think about that… I am completely okay with that. Often we try and take new experiences and moments of vulnerability and find ways to extract those feelings to other people, and avoid our own. But as I sat around seven people who have beautiful hearts, I think to myself, “We are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime… but we have made a way to make it home, before even moving in.”

-Hope Sorrells

Mastering the Art of Chaco’s.


chacos


I don’t know about you, but when I bought my first pair of Chaco’s I was slightly concerned.

I looked at the variety of styles. From different colored straps, to different amounts of straps to even the type of Chaco. I couldn’t help but think, “I didn’t know there would be so many options!” I picked a pair that were a red color and begin to put them on.

SO many straps. Awkwardly uncomfortable. Not my style.

I walked around like I had bricks on my feet. They weren’t necessarily the most comfortable foot attire I have ever worn, nor were they the most flattering. My naturally long, skinny feet looked even longer and skinnier. Trying to get them tight enough to fit my feet was another obstacle. After 15 minutes of pulling, tugging, maneuvering, I finally   felt like I had accomplished a huge task. For 3 weeks, I have worn them almost everyday, just trying to get used to the unfamiliar item that will soon be as familiar as an old friend.


But as I sit and think I can’t help but relate that experience and those shoes to life.

Sometimes life throws you a very familiar experience in a somewhat familiar facade.

[[Even in sandals that aren’t like most sandals.]]

You are handed an opportunity that will completely take you out of a comfort zone or put you in a situation you have never experienced. You begin to weigh all options. Pros, cons, likes, dislikes. The exact thing that will change you as a person and help you to test your limits. After much decisions, internal conflicts, and closing your eyes and saying, “Let’s do this.” You finally decide.

Then, comes the next move, actually prepping for that experience. It may look wrong or off. You will be standing on your own feet that are in a new place. You begin to describe to your friends and family your decision and sometimes, the support, isn’t always there. It is difficult to embrace the unusually or the unfamiliar, especially when your foundation is slightly shaky and unsure.

But, with each day, you take another step, you hit a new stride. You begin to feel stronger and more comfortable in your own skin. You know that no matter how ‘tight’ life gets or even how unsure and ‘loose,’ there is a strong and steady piece, that keeps you pushing forward. You know that not everyday will look as good as you would like nor will it have the same new feeling as before but the unfamiliar slowly becomes the familiar. The old friend that you can forever lean on or in this instance, a pair of sandals, that aren’t like any other sandal, that will be faithful and true as you venture out on a new adventure.

That is where Mastering the Art of Chaco’s become something greater than a simple sandal for a simple person. It is a complex life change, that begins with one decision, one try, and one step. Why not, begin… now.

-Hope Sorrells