Well, our version anyway. The same amount of singing and life conversations, but with a few less (actually none what so ever) celebrities. So kind of?
Years ago myself, along with 4 other girls, created a carpool. All of us lived in the Northside and we worked in the Southside, so almost everyday, we ended up commuting the 40 miles to and from work.
And there we were. All so very single and so very ready to be dating, engaged, and married. Ready to be living the dream with our husbands in imaginary houses with the picket fence. Except that our realities were apartments with loud neighbors, houses with one bathroom, boys who wouldn’t commit and families who sometimes so lovingly reminded us of all the things we were not.
All of us, except Sara.
Included in our carpool was our bright, sassy friend Sara. She’s kind of like the old wise neighbor of the main character in a movie. Or the fun bartender with insight into your mixed up life. She’s like your friends mom, who they can’t really appreciate because she’s their mom, but you soak up everything they say. Also why am I describing her like she's old and gone? Sorry. She's very much alive and well.
Sara's larger-than-life personality made her stories all the more richer as we listened to everything she had to say. She was only about 4 years older than us, but she was beautiful and amusing and provided wisdom that made it fun to learn from. Any story was more exciting when Sara told it. She was and is one of the most positive people I’ve ever known. She’d worked in fashion before working with us and had the coolest clothes (I sound like a middle schooler, but like, she's just cool ok?). She radiated so much life and hope into our little office. She was married to Chase and when they were together you didn’t want to stand too close because Blake and Ryan would have looked dull compared to those two. Sara would tell us stories about how they met and how he proposed and we would swoon over her stories and her life.
One of Sara’ s contributions to carpool, aside from letting us ride in her fancy new Lexus, was introducing us to the Eric Church song, “Over When It’s Over”. The amount of times we sang that song would make Eric proud and James Corden embarrassed that I compared his show to our attempts to belt this song. But we didn't care. It applied to past relationships and new flames and for years it became a tradition to play it every few weeks, just for the sake of it.
And somewhere between the lines about daggers and Marlboro Lights, space was created for all of us to be a little more honest about the past and the present, and the real and the hard.
One thing you need to know is that Sara and Chase had been trying for two years to get pregnant. Sara found out earlier that year that she only had about a 50% chance of being able to conceive. She watched best friends and sorority sisters and real sisters get pregnant, and she wanted more than anything to have what they had.
And there we were, 20 somethings living on non-profit salaries, in apartments and houses that we could barely afford, and not as far along as we thought we should be. And here was beautiful Sara married to handsome Chase who in our eyes had it all, all the while watching them wait for something else.
And the unspoken truth of the season was no matter where you are or no matter what part of the journey you're in: everyone is waiting for something.
I wonder if we will ever realize that the thing we want so badly in this moment won’t make us whole. It won't make us content. It won't take away the anxiety of the "what ifs". Eventually we will want something else. It's such a vicious and draining cycle. I think we still, after years and countless examples of watching it not be true, continue in the thinking that the grass is greener over there.
• If I just had this job or this car or this life, everything would be so much easier.
• Well obviously if my life looked like theirs, I would be constantly worried.
• If life had just gone according my plan, I wouldn't feel so terribly lost, terribly confused, and terribly tired of trying.
And let me remind you again, I’m over here preaching to choir. Reminding us, that grasping contentment and joy in the present, is far more important that spending all our energy grasping at that next step.
We’ll never have everything we want exactly when we want it. We know that, but somewhere between the long days, months, and years of walking through it, we can lose sight of it.
All these years later, Sara and Chase are parents to a precious baby girl. But in the season of life we lived together in carpool, that outcome wasn't always a guarantee.
Sara and Chase were an example to us on how to wait well. Behind close doors I’m sure they would both beg to differ, but as people who walked very closely with them, they were models of what it looked like to live with a hope and a purpose bigger than our momentary thoughts, feelings and circumstances.
What it looked like to hurt, and what it looked like to trust and what it looked like to live with Joy, even when life doesn’t look like what you thought.
If we're not careful, we'll miss the lessons because we stayed so busy wishing for things we weren’t supposed to have yet. And if we can move past the discontentment, the present is a truly beautiful place to be.