This Woman Has Changed Me

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Years ago, my friend Bianca and I traveled with our friend Laura to Costa Rica. When Laura and I arrived, jet-lagged and tired, dirty and sweaty, I wanted nothing more than to head to our little cabana to shower and sleep.

But Bianca would have none of my tired shenanigans. Instead, she made me jump on the bike she’d rented for me.

“Just start pedaling!” she yelled. She was certain that if I just got my body moving, if I could awaken cramped limbs enough to see and smell the beauty of creation alive in our little slice of Latin America, I’d probably change my mind.

And she was right, of course.

She grabbed the gargantuan backpack I’d lugged 4,000 miles with me, from Santa Cruz, California to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, and hoisted it on her back. Laughing with joy–that the three of us had been able to make this adventure happen, that we’d finally arrived, that the week was ours to do with as we wished–she led the way to a karaoke bar on the side of the road. As I droned on about curling up in a ball to sleep the night away, she instead prompted me to embrace the moment for just a few more minutes.

“Cara, it’s karaoke. You love to sing. Come on, girl!”

Eventually, I obliged. Eventually, my moody tiredness was replaced with a giggling deliriousness, and the three of us sang “La Bamba” (the only song we recognized on the roster of Spanish-only songs), as if our lives depended on it.

Maybe that’s when I noticed it for the first time: she served, and she led, and as if by force, her soul smiled incessantly the whole time. She knew how to suck the marrow out of the gift we’d been handed that night. And she realized what I hadn’t yet come to understand: every moment is an opportunity, an adventure waiting to be had. We have a choice in the matter, and oftentimes it’s one that comes through attitude alone.

For Bianca, there exists a curiosity about everything, but especially toward God and the natural world. She thrives in open spaces, when she can connect to living, breathing soil–to all that it supports and the Creator who sustains it all. There exists within her soul a pull to nature she can’t deny.

But there’s also a pull and an intrigue toward people, which makes her one of the most affable humans I’ve ever met.

“I love people of all ages, makes and models,” she wrote me in an email. “Their stories, cultures, food, music and unique bits of weirdness all bring wisdom, inspiration and a sense of connectedness.”

While she’s an independent spirit, she deeply craves belonging with fellow humans. She knows that she thrives in loving, cooperative environments where all people are free to live out their giftedness for the benefit of the whole.

And isn’t this what it should look like for all of us?

So, for Bianca, she continues to adventure through life–even if the greatest adventure of her life remains a mystery. Although she’s dated a long cast of characters, she’s yet to marry.

“There truly is a mystery at work in regards to chemistry, timing and compatibility,” she says. “While I long for a buddy with which to share the grand adventure, I enjoy my life immensely and won’t compromise that for just anybody.”

She continues to explore what it means to live life to the fullest–with a soul full of joy and a heart that beats for human connection.

And I’ll tell you this much: this woman has changed me. I’m a better person because Bianca Schmidt entered my life.

So, do yourself a favor: when you meet a rare gem like Bianca, watch her closely.

Learn from her.

Imitate her.

Watch and see how her spirit transforms you, as she teaches you how to suck the marrow out of life.

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Cara Meredith
Cara Meredith is a writer and speaker from Seattle, Washington. Her first book, The Color of Life: A White Woman’s Journey of Legacy, Love and Racial Justice releases with Zondervan in January 2019. She loves a mean bowl of chips and guac, long walks outside, and makes it her goal to dance in the living room every night.
Cara Meredith
Cara Meredith

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