Most of us have done the same thing in our own lives. We've felt something big and true, but for a million reasons stopped doing it and left it in our past. That's why finding your calling and your dream is not a first date; it is more often than not a reunion. And if that's the case, if dreaming is an act of recovery and not an act of discovery, that changes everything. - Jon Acuff

About three or four years ago, my high school best friend showed me this quote and the article it's part of. It changed my life. At that time I was a junior or senior in high school, and I was considering the pursuit of a music degree at college. I was so uncertain, but these words clinched it for me. I've always loved to sing, and when I read those words, I decided to take the leap and try my hand (and voice) at a degree in Voice Performance.

It's much later, and I'm midway through my undergraduate degree. I tell people all the time that, besides my relationship with Christ, music school is both the hardest thing I've ever done and the best thing I've ever done. I cannot believe the way I am blessed to get up every single morning and do what it is I love most.

Nineteen days from this post, I will be boarding a plane that will take me across oceans to a summer intensive. I will study the music that I love for six weeks solid in the gorgeous land where it was written. That's insane to me. That's only Jesus.

A little over a month ago I was having lunch with a very talented friend, and she asked me what I thought it was about myself that made me unique from all the other sopranos out there who want to get the same opera roles that I do. Do you know how difficult of a question that is? It's stupid hard to answer. It feels like bragging on myself. I stumbled over words for a little bit. "Well, I think I'm a bright, happy person... Uh... I think I'm a good actress..."

Then an odd statement came pouring out of me. "I've always had this obsession with Lord of the Rings." Boy, if only she knew. Tolkien knows how to write some gorgeousness. "I just love the idea of going on an adventure."

I don't consider myself an adventurer. I often wish I was. There's this longing inside of me that cries out for a life that is big and true and real and terrifying and full of peril and danger, but always, forever beautiful. During this summer, this period of rest before my Big Trip, Jesus has been teaching me a lot about His love for me, and about the freedom that He offers. Freedom from my fears. I feel afraid of a lot of things sometimes, and I want so much to live past those. 

Do you know what the beautiful thing is? He's making me free. As I type, He is freeing me from my fears and life-superstitions. I don't think it means I'll never be afraid again. I think it means that I don't have to live in fear.

That's part of the reason I'm so excited for the Big Trip. Here is not only a chance for me to grow as a musician (I mean, can you imagine how much Strauss I'll get to sing?? Only all of it), but as a follower of Christ who longs to live -- really live.

As I travel on this trip, I'm going to post photos and accounts of what I'm doing and all sorts of classical music nerdiness. But this is my Preface, my Introduction, my Prelude. I'm getting so excited.

19 days.