I was sitting on the floor in a friend’s apartment when I sent the e-mail that changed everything.
I’d been meaning to do it for a long time. But life was busy, and I had been traveling and there’s also that thing they say about procrastination — that it is a fear of failure — and I’m sure there was a little bit of fear holding me back what I knew I was supposed to do, what I wanted to do, what I had been waiting to do.
But for whatever reason on that particular night, in that particular living room, while my friend made dinner in the next room, I was resolved.
I was going to do this.
So I found the article I had prepared weeks before, proofread it one last time, and with a big, deep breath, composed the e-mail to send it to a blogger I had been following for a long time — one with a much bigger platform than mine. “Would you let me guest post on your blog?” I asked.
All the experts had told me to do it.
I hadn’t been blogging for very long, so I wasn’t sure exactly why it was so important to guest post for other bloggers, but I figured it had something to do with getting more traffic, and getting the attention of certain people and maybe (hopefully) getting a book deal.
So I prayed for these things to happen. I crossed by fingers for them to happen. And then I sent the e-mail.
But I couldn’t have known what would happen next.
My imagination is not that good.
When the e-mail came that he wanted to use it, I nearly fell off my seat in my living room. The article was about a trip I had taken across the country to visit all 50 States. I had quit my job, moved out of my apartment, sold nearly everything I owned and set off with in my Subaru with a dream of writing a book.
This was it, I thought to myself. This was my big break.
But the article went live, and no publishers contacted me wanting to publish my story.
Someone else contacted me instead.
He was a guy from across the country who stumbled on my blog from my guest post, he said. He introduced himself. Nothing too crazy or invasive. Then he stayed (loosely) in touch over the next few months. A tweet here. A comment on my blog there. Eventually a friend request on Facebook.
Then, months later, an e-mail asking if he could guest post for me.
Then a Skype conversation.
Then phone calls and text messages.
Then, before I knew it I was on the phone with this strange and bold and passionate man from across the country, agreeing to fly to Minneapolis, Minnesota, so I could meet him in person.
Four months after that conversation, I stood at an altar in front of all my friends and family, and gave my whole life to him.
I couldn’t have known all that would happen from a single e-mail.
My life has changed a lot since then. Not just in the obvious ways (I went for 28 years without a husband and now I have one) but in a few less obvious ways, too.
First of all, I’ve never looked at seemingly small choices the same ever again. It was just an e-mail, after all. Just a silly little e-mail. But I’m starting to see how just an e-mail, or just a phone call, or just a decision to get up and go out instead of stay in can change the whole course of my life forever.
This has, on the one hand, made me live with more caution. Because it means life is more delicate than I give it credit for. It is bigger and messier and much too complicated for me to handle.
But in another way, this makes me live more engaged and involved and courageous than before.
Because if life is too big for me to handle, why would I try to handle it?
If life is messy, why would I try to tie up all of its loose ends?
Secondly, this experience makes me realize how rarely I get what I think I’m going to get from a specific set of actions or circumstances. And that’s okay. It’s easy for me to pour all of my energy into something — a marriage, a difficult friendship, a career, a church community, a charity, etc. — thinking it will yield a certain outcome.
But when that outcome doesn’t take place — do I think it’s all wasted?
I used to. But not anymore.
Because I just don’t have any way to know what’s coming. And I see that as a good thing.
Photo Credit: Victor Bezrukov , Creative Commons