Stepping out and opening myself up to new opportunities is not something that comes naturally to me. Talking to people I don't know. Going to new places with which I'm not familiar and don't know anyone. Really. These things used to terrify me, and I still quite often have a jumble of nerves trying to turn my stomach inside out. I have, however, figured out how to quiet them and do it - whatever "it" is - anyway.
I've often joked that God had me go to four colleges (after saying one and done before I began) and work about nine jobs in seven years (summers, internships, etc.) so that I'd get used to new situations. He was preparing me.
Now, I speak on a regular basis, traveling to unfamiliar places without a single familiar face. I'm still not the best at starting a conversation with strangers and small talk is not my specialty. But I've learned to make do.
I've also learned that there are doors God opens for us that we never would have sought out or even noticed on our own. I never intended on or imagined I'd be a speaker. I've always loved to talk, but mostly with people I know well. I never dreamed I'd be an author, either. I actually detested research papers and writing for school.
Now I love both. I get to meet some really great people and have some wonderful experiences. I also have the pleasure of even more doors opening. Most recently, I traveled to TX to interview a cousin of mine to write her life story (which, prayerfully, will be released May 2014.) It was an honor and pleasure. She is a vibrant, caring, lovely young woman who's faced some tremendous challenges. That's why I thought her story should be told.
The trip also benefited me in that I had the chance to visit family I only get to see every decade or so and some friends I haven't seen in about that long or longer. It was a wonderfully, blessed trip and I couldn't have expected anything else.
Then, on the last flight home, I was on a plane with an exuberant, comedic, engaging flight attendant. By watching him and listening to some interactions with other passengers, a nagging started in my mind. This man had a story, one I imagined deserved telling.
Usually I'm the girl who never talks to strangers or puts myself out there. But in the little over an hour flight, the nagging wouldn't go away. So as I exited the plane I stopped for a moment, handed him my business card and said, "I'm an author and you seem to have a story to tell. I'd love to tell it for you. If you're interested, please feel free to contact me." He was very gracious and appreciative. We said good-bye and I walked off the plane.
Today, four days later, I received an email from him, inviting me to tell his story. I have no idea what his story is (other than he was at one time a football coach - college, I think - and retired to become a flight attendant. Oh, and his dad is one of the last surviving veteran's from Pearl Harbor.)
I look forward to finding out what else there is.
But most of all, I'm glad I've learned to live outside of my comfort zone and allow God to open doors I never would have hoped, dreamed, or imagined.