Free to Be Me
Written by: Bradley Jean
“Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you…”
One of my favorite movies of all time is Pride and Prejudice, the newer version with Keira Knightly. (If you haven’t seen it, see it, today. For real.) I’m a sucker for romance in beautiful, foreign lands. When the solace Mr.Darsey walks out of the mist at the end of the movie to express his love to Elizabeth Bennet, I cry every time. Barely able to speak he says, “I love, I love, I love you.” He cannot even get the words out.
However, my favorite scene is when Mr. Darsey offers to give Miss. Bennet a ride home from his castle. She’s nervous and embarrassed and replies with a no and says, “I’m very fond of walking.”
I love Elizabeth Bennett. She knows there is more for her, but she also wants what is right and honest and she wants the answers found in her own hands, not others. She walks her way through her days, wandering and figuring it out. She feels all the emotions of family, love, loss, confusion, direction. The walking has always reminded me of me.
Now, I do not have a British romantic love story to tell. My husband is wild, rough, loud and southern. Our story is beautifully Alabama, beautifully us, but I’m not here to talk about him…
I have been walking and wandering my days since we closed George’s Farmers Market full-time. I walk in the morning with my coffee on our farm at sunrise, and I prefer to close my day walking at dusk with my kids. And in between, I’m walking and searching, praying for what is next., “Lord, show me the way.”
Almost 2 years ago, I began a Forward&UP project. It was personal, something that had tugged at my heart for some time. It was a project I never actually dreamed up, it just began from dust and evolved. I literally listened to that still small voice and did as I was told. I soon learned it was a gift and blessing not to myself but to many others.
I remember thinking, “Wow, this is cool. I didn’t plan this, but it’s happening…”
I wrote 6 stories of courageous and inspiring women in Lee County. Forward&UP is the idea we keep moving Forward, whatever the circumstances and we look UP to God. It was something I had spoken to my sister once during a difficult time in her life and it stuck.
I have not written a story in one year. It halted, or I halted, and my mind and soul have not been the same since.
The odd thing about writing ideas, is it never leaves, like NEVER! Once I get an idea or inspiration, it does not go away. It sits there, hangs out and stays and consumes all my energy. Sure, I have random ones that fly in and out, but the hearty ones and the real ones, they stay. They stick around like honey perfectly glazed onto a biscuit.
I remember meeting with my dear friend Kim in October of last year. She looked at my lovingly and said, “What will you do when your run out of stories?” I smiled and clearly answered, “Kim, there’s too many to tell, I’ll never run out of stories.”
This small moment in time and her sincere words left a real impression on me. Kim made it clear to me that this thing I have is true, it’s vast and it’s there and it’s not leaving.
The fact is, we all have a story. Stories of life, joy, greatness, sadness, fun, adventure, the good, the bad and the ugly. And they all matter. They are all valuable.
I also believe in the power of sharing to help and love another. There is Freedom in taking something near and dear to our souls and putting it out there in the world. Allowing us to be who God made us to be. Taking off our masks. “This is me. Take me as I am.”
And ya’ know the beautiful thing God says to that?
“Dear child, I already have”
So begns a journey for me. For me to be who God made me to be. And perhaps so begins a journey for you too. God put a spark within each of us, not to be hidden, but to be a beacon and lamp for the world. So those seeking to see the Lord will see him in You!
So I will tell my story, bit by bit. Along with the stories of many, many other beautiful and amazing women.
My confidence is not in my own abilities, but fully in Him, fully trusting that He knows what’s best for me. Living by faith and not by sight. He directs my path. He whispers in my ear. It’s just up to me to say “yes Lord. I will go.”
So here I am. And so I begin…
A journey of wandering side by side with the one who breathed life into me. In hopes that all my days will be used well, that others will see Him through me. For when my days on Earth end, I will run and see the Lord face to face and I will stand in awe and say…
“That was amazing! Look at all the wonderful things we did together!”
My mission as a writer is to tell real stories of women in all walks of life. We are all inspiring. Our stories are not all the same but the way in which we can teach and lead one another is universal. Our stories are important, and our stories are valuable. All of them.
Bradley Jean is a freelance writer and journalist. She specializes in feature writing, travel, women and entrepreneurship. For inquiries on writing for you or your brand you may reach her by email at Bradley@georgesjournal.co .