A new season of the podcast Serial dropped last week. I listened to the inaugural season years ago while waiting to pick up my not-yet-driving younger son from high school. The new three-part season is lovely and heart-breaking. And while is pitches itself as a story about an already bent family being permanently and irrevocably broken by COVID, it is really – for me – a story about lost hope and squandered chances.

We each are offered choices. Free will. Opportunities. Obstacles. We get to choose. Take the left turn or the right? Turn around or move forward. Surrender or fight. Love or hate. Accept or deny. Forget or begrudge.

The woman at the center of the tragedy is a woman who has scraped together a life. Searched for beauty and love and redemption all while keeping her fists up and squaring off. She’s tough and sturdy and a fuck-you. Scrappy to the core, or *almost* to the core. Because at her core is a heart. A tender, vulnerable, squishy heart that she has protected diligently and for years. Waiting. To find love. To find trust. To find safety.

Our safe places are often not with those to whom the Creator planted us. We arrived into a family unit, a construct but there is no absolutes that the family to which we were born will be safe or nurturing. In fact, sometimes that dangerous environment is exactly what is required to temper and meld us into our better selves, our ultimate form. Without knowing it, we are forged into an arrow that, when released, arcs into the realm of possibilities.