One of the best women in the world just so happens to be one of my best friends. My friend Corinne has been a deeply important part of my life for nearly 12 years. For the sake of allowing her the right to tell her own story, in her own voice, I’ll simply say that we’ve walked to and through hell together. Arms linked, we walked back out.
One of the greatest joys in my life has been watching her build a remarkable life, one filled with love, family and education. She has a husband who loves her in the most uniquely Corinne ways. She has two of the most perfect and loving children, and the family she was born into was far from perfect, but she’s undoing so many years of damage with her example and love.
Corinne’s sister Hailey is spending the summer with me. She’s 23 and just graduated from journalism school. She’s never been given a free ticket. No one ever put a silver spoon in her mouth, and to be quite frank, she would probably tell you where to shove it if anyone tried. She’s a hard working, intelligent, ambitious and honest young woman who has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. That said, she also has no real idea what adulthood means or looks like.
Corinne and I agreed that a month with me might help Hailey to realize what all is ahead of her in the world of “grown ups.” My life seems normal enough to me. Regardless of how many people insist that I move faster or am wired differently, I just naturally assume that they’re blowing smoke up my bum. I don’t think anything I’ve done is particularly remarkable or hard. I just think I show up more often than others. I just think I sleep less than others. And I definitely think A LOT more than others. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and have to write 3 pages of notes. My brain just keeps going and I’m okay with that. Some of my best ideas have come out of listening to my dreams or being to bull headed to go to bed when I just *know* that a break through is coming. I’m a lover of innovation, ingenuity, and encouraging others to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.
That last bit has always been a bit of a struggle for me… And for others. Again, I move fast. So fast that I can often come across more like a speeding bullet than a wind of encouragement. It’s something I have to ask for grace about on a very regular basis. The expectations I have of myself are already quite rigid. I do my best not to hold others to those same standards, but when I invite people into my world, and onto my projects, it’s difficult not to.
Hailey has shown me the very real consequences of that. Again, she’s 23 years old and fresh out of the safety of college – where sleeping in happens often and, in her words, “D’s get degrees.” The latter doesn’t fly in the Jundi house. While she’s never lived a charmed life, she was smart enough to know that she absolutely did need the quintessential college experience. From what Corinne has shared, there weren’t many moments at home that would have lead her and her siblings to a life of success. Being that I could say a similar childhood fell upon my brother and I, there’s a very innate part of me that both wants to protect and push Hailey.
And then she got hit by a car. And then the gate to our apartment took a chunk out of her heel. And then I watched as 6 straight nights of 6-hours-or-less of sleep caught up with her. And then watching the reality of an insurance deductible sink in on her. And then I saw what going, going, going can do to someone who’s used to catching their breath. It’s not pretty. And it broke my heart. Guilt sunk in. The struggle of wanting to protect her versus the desire to push her was evident.
Moreover, I had to come face to face with what I do to myself every single day. I have a full time job. I oversee two very big and detailed ministries. I have a part time job and three major freelance clients. In addition to an active social life, a regular gym schedule and a commitment to my dog, a clean house and life as a contributing writer to 5 publications. I juice and cook often, as well as seek out new food adventures on the regular. And I have the soul of a traveler. I’m rooted, I love my city and I’m committed to it, but I also make it a point to get out and experience this world, near and far. I live a full and abundant life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and I often marvel at the fact that I was the one chosen to live this remarkable dream.
I do know that it’s a lot. I don’t know a single person in my life who would call me calm, lethargic, passive or even just relaxed. It’s not in my nature. It’s not in Corinne’s either, so Hailey’s really between a rock and a hard place when it comes to mentorship and examples. However, the protective side of me won out. I let her sleep in this weekend. Not something I tend to do. I have Farmer’s Markets to hit, church meetings to attend, the gym to tear up and a house to clean. Nevermind blogs to write, dogs to walk and consultations to conduct. But she’s not me. And I’ve committed myself to her, her growth, and helping her to be the best Hailey she can be. The best Hailey she can be is not a copy of Nancy.
I’m not perfect. I’m the first person to admit that. And what a boring world it would be if perfection was something any of us could actually achieve. Our flaws and idiosyncrasies are what make us stand outs. It often the best of what God can use in us. My flaws are great. Not in the awesome way, but in the many, many flaws kind of way. Not the least of which is forgetting to sit still and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
She’s a reflective gal. She’s introspective and raw. Her blogs – she has to write a daily blog chronicling this experience – are wildly pensive, well written and allows the reader to draw their own conclusion… Which is ridiculously vulnerable. Then again, so is Hailey.
She’s an incredible young woman who will leave a great mark on this world, but first she must allow it to make a mark on her. Whether it’s outreach or the experiences I introduce her to, I’m confident that she’ll leave Los Angeles irrevocably changed, hopefully for the better. It’s only a week in and I’m both proud of her and moved by her perseverance. She’s been repeatedly baptized by fire and thrown to the wolves, but no matter how bad the burn or how deep the bite, she’s picked herself up and said “I can do that better next time.”
I’m humbled. I’m moved. And I’m so excited for all she has ahead. Thank you, God, for allowing me to be a part of this young woman’s world.