May has always been a nostalgic month for me. Throughout my childhood, it was the conclusion of school years and the commencement of summers. In 2009 and 2013, it was a season of graduation as I graduated from high school and college and bid farewell to my beloved towns of Brandon and Oxford. It is a month full of weddings, (we have three this May). Ultimately, it is a month full of milestones.
Milestones. Maybe this word is on my mind due to the fact that, for the past sixteen weeks, I have been learning all about pediatric therapy, reflexes, and developmental milestones of a child. At 3-6 months, a child should pay attention to his/her own name, should reach and grasp objects with a straight elbow at 6-9 months, and walk with one hand held at 9-12 months. The list goes on and on. Maybe the word is engrained in my mind as I reached another educational milestone last week as I completed the academic portion of graduate school and took my last final examination on Wednesday. Either way, the word has been sitting in my brain, frolicking around in its cortex the past few days, waiting to be contemplated and addressed.
I wrote a blog post back in college about my “milestone home.” It was July of 2010, and my parents and I had made a quick weekend trip to Houston to visit friends. Here is the excerpt from the blog post.
So on the last day of the trip as we were leaving Houston, my mom thought I should see my “first home.” I sighed and began my whining tangent about how that was so cheesy, didn’t understand the significance seeing that I did not remember a thing about the house, we had a seven hour drive and didn’t need any other detour (throw in 23,832 other complaints and you have my futile argument). Then my mother said something that I later would ponder over. She said, “But it is important. That is where you began to learn to walk. That is where you learned to talk. That was the house you were brought home to- it’s where the milestones happened.”
Where the milestones happened.
Now, when you’re in a car for seven hours, you have a LOT of thinking time, and I began to think about what my mom said. Where the milestones happened. How many times in life are WE others’ “first homes.” We, ourselves, are where others’ milestones happened. It could be as simple as one word of encouragement, one smile, or one conversation that transformed someone else’s life completely. A milestone happened. Or it could be a lifelong influence and example that someone else observes and chases after. Yet again, another milestone. We might not remember the small-talk conversations, brief interactions, and the thousand hellos that we distribute throughout our daily lives, but one day, we might just be the “first home” for someone else. They might not remember it then, but one day they’ll look back and say, “That’s where the milestones happened.” Therefore, I think in life, that is one of our purposes. We were designed to be the “first homes” for others. We were designed to make milestones happen.
Considering my current circumstances, you can see how I find great humor in this blog post now. While my mom was referring to my milestones happening in Houston as a baby, she had no idea of the foreshadowing of her comment as I have now not only reached milestones in Houston as a baby but for the past two years have been meeting milestones in Houston as an adult. Little did we know when we went to Houston that July, I would meet a boy eight months later- a boy who had just accepted a job in Houston and the boy that I was going to marry. Little did my mother know that her mere sentimental statement was going to evolve into absolute truth, for Houston has definitely become a city where milestones happen.
I was born in this city. I was brought back to my first home in this city. I began to take first steps (or crawls) in this city. I began “my repetitive babbling at 6-9 months” in this city. I met my grandparents for the first time in this city, played with my sister for the first time in this city. Twenty one years later, I moved back to this city. I moved into my first home(apartment) with my husband in this city. I made my first meal as a wife in this city (it took over 2 hours). I started graduate school in this city. Andrew and I started our first Bible study together in this city. We got our first pet (terrorist) together in this city. This has been a city of milestones.
Furthermore, Houston will continue to be a city of milestones. I will, God-willing, graduate with my MOT in this city. I, will, most likely, get my first job in this city. We will potentially buy our first home in this city (area), and in the very city that I was born, our first child could potentially be born (not now– in a few years). While I will always consider Brandon my “hometown” and while it is chock-full of milestones and memories of its own, Houston will always hold a special place in my heart as it has been a period of growth and development, first as a baby human and now as a baby adult. “Baby adult” because I still have a long, long way to go.
So now that I have demonstrated my milestone of “repetitive babbling”, that has apparently been around since “six to nine months of age”, (sorry, parents), what is the point besides that I quite obviously have grown and am growing in Houston? The point is that life is full of twists and unexpected destinations yet can simultaneously complete its own full circle with you relocating back to where you started, whether that be in the entity of a physical location, a vocational position, a relationship, a service opportunity, or any area of learning or development. Furthermore, God has a great, mysterious plan for our lives, and His plan is not always our plan. His plan may include elements of our lives recurring, previous elements of our lives becoming the present, and certain areas of milestones that we think we have already fulfilled may not be finished in His eyes. He may have us return to certain areas, where we think we have learned and gathered all there is to know, but He has other milestones for us to reach in these facets, in these places, in these relationships, in these jobs, in these cities. His plan may be to use part of our past to help develop our further growth and our future.
With God, the possibilities for milestones are endless. With God, milestones are a life-long journey of refining and sharpening our hearts, our minds, and our souls to be more like Him and less of the world. With God, we can always trust that where we are is where the milestones need to happen and that He will be there as our guide to help us grow and to help us fulfill the great plan and purpose for our lives.
As I said almost five years ago, obliviously visiting the city that I would soon return to, with God, and through God, we were designed to make milestones happen.