Heart so full

It’s here.

I’m in the airport.

I didn’t get on my first flight. I’m flying standby and they didn’t have any room. I didn’t mind. I’ll get there eventually. I had a feeling this would happen, to slow the process down a little bit, to make my time here in the airport last a little bit longer. It would have been too easy and fast to have gotten on that first flight. A six month trip feels like it should be preceded by a nice long wait in the airport. I went up to the ticket counter crying hysterically, not because I was sad about missing my flight, but because I had just read a post on Facebook that my sister wrote for me. I felt like I needed to tell the surly lady behind the desk that I wasn’t crying because I missed the flight. She said “ok, what’s your last name?” and we moved on. I’ve been crying intermetantly since. I wondered how long it would take me to cry today but it came before I thought it would. I’m allowing myself to feel it, as I’ve never quite gone through what I’m experiencing right now. A changing heart? A fuller heart? An expanding heart? A mending heart. It’s the same feeling in my chest that I’ve had when my heart has been broken, except this time I think my heart is stitching itself back up, with my hope as the needle and others kind words for me as the string. In the past few days, everyone I love has called me, texted me, wrote me letters, made Facebook posts, given me hugs and told me they are proud of me, that they know I can do it. They’ve told me that they’ve watched me grow this tiny dream into a big reality, that their inspired and excited.  To all of  you, I am endlessly and unconditionally grateful. Every time I hear “I know you can do it,” I am a little bit stifled, stifled by how genuine and real it sounds and how vulnerable a moment it can be when someone looks you in eye and says “you got this” about something you feel so passionate about and so scared of at the same time. 
A few months back I envisioned this day and how it would feel. I wrote down in my notebook the following : “how spectacular and terrifying a feeling it is to kiss your family goodbye before leaving to chase a dream.”

The day is here and that sentence could not ring truer.

At some point, the trail will become lackluster. It’ll be raining and I’ll be alone and I’ll look back to this post to remember the feeling of leaving, the hope in everyone’s eyes, the moment I looked in the mirror this morning after my last shower at home, took a deep breathe and was reminded of myself two years ago when I said “I’m going to hike the Appalachian trail” with barely any idea of what that meant. 

I’ll end this with some words from my mama: 

“Of all the chapters of your life so far, this one has the capacity to make the most profound impact on your life. Of all your experiences so far, this will define you in ways that will only become clear in the decades ahead.” Marie Burman

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Comments 2

  • Gary Stell : Apr 11th

    Good on ya Carolyn! What a happy place your family and friends have taken you to. Now when you’re on the trail and like you said, challenged, you can go right to that place and bask in the warm light of hearth and home and the love of your family and friends! Happy Trails

  • Christine Taylor : Apr 11th

    Wise words from your Mom. It is a long trail. It took everything out of me. I am still recovering and I finished six months ago, but I’m much older then you. You will be great. Enjoy yourself. Before you know it you will have hiked the whole thing and your big dream will be behind you.


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