Sunday, July 24, 2011

Staring Out Into Possibility

Written En Route San Diego to Las Vegas
Now that a year in my life has come and gone, even while in the midst of the current year, I find myself staring out into a valley of possibility. 
I could use the imagery of mountains to climb or hills to scale, but the entire concept of pushing something up a hill never to arrive is not one that I wish to pursue.
The Myth of Sisyphus is one of never attaining the goal, but always be engaged in the climb.
I, for one, am not certain that the climb itself is all that it’s cracked up to be. The journey, however, that’s an entirely different story. 
When people enter a dark moment of their life I never hear them talk about “the climb.” Instead, they’ll refer to it as “darkness” or “a rut” or a “battle.” Never, that I can recall, does anyone mention some pursuit upwards.
That is not to say that there is no pursuit in going up, it’s just that I’m not certain anyone cognitively feels that they are “moving” into a higher capacity while carrying weight in the process.
Leading up to this new series of 365 days, or 525,600 minutes, my vision is not one of standing in the same place, moving, but going nowhere. Instead, it’s almost a series of ballet movements across grains of sand and onto something.
Then, though, that begs the question: Is moving upwards as or more difficult than the grain of sand on previously uncalloused feet? I suppose that answer would be best told by the person engaged in the journey.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bookends, Measuring the Year in a Life

“525,600 minutes how you measure the year in a life?” begs and so tries to answer the theme song of the musical Rent.

When I think about the “year in a life” right now, I think of the word bookends. It’s the marking of both the beginning and the end of something, and the story that’s told between those markers is how you measure that year in a life. 
Bookends are like the sunrise and sunset of the day. 
At the sunset of one year and the dawn into another I made myself a promise. 
“In 2011, I’m going to like myself more,” I said. I wrote it down. I published it on this blog so that anyone could see and hold me accountable should I have any doubt that I could do it. 
A post called “Floating on the Wings of Earthly Angels” told the story of how very real people turned up in my life in previously unimaginable ways. Emotionally, spiritually, and some days, physically, I was floating on angels. Now, I am again, and this time no one had to say anything. I already knew. 
Anyway, days grew into weeks and weeks grew into months and somehow I found myself standing seven months after that post without a single question or doubt that everything had in fact happened for a reason. 
Tomorrow will mark one year since something quite specific in my life. It will also be what would have been my Grandma’s ninety-second birthday. When I look at where I will be tomorrow and where I was exactly 365 days earlier and then all that has happened in between, I can’t imagine it only being 525,600 minutes. 
I started July 22, 2010 in tears of emotional hope. 
I ended July 21, 2011 with a smile that could not be wiped from my face that could only be described as ethereal joy. No hope necessary, it just is.  
The story that’s told in the middle of these bookends is a year in a life. 
It’s told simply: in small and big prayers, in some very big cups of coffee, quite a few bottles of wine, moments of uncontrollable laughter, the making of some wonderful new friends (some old one’s too) and memories, as well as the shedding of a former self that all built up to an overflowing of gratitude. 

        Oh, and I totally like myself more. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On Coming and Going

11:14 PM Nashville, TN time, July 4, 2011


It's been a long time since I wrote. Not because I didn't have anything to say, but because I was busy living. Not thinking about it or worrying about it, but just living. 

Coming and going.

There's been a lot of that in my life the last several weeks. I graduated (but didn't travel) from Boston University with a Master's Degree. I shut down my computer for everything but work and social media and lived and laughed up life.

I went to Palm Springs and soaked up the sun and made a lot of new memories... Stories I will tell my children one day.

Mom and Dad came to visit and bought all my "new" friends their drinks. My Mom even did a shot.  In this visit my parents became my friends.

My two best friends came to visit and a friend from my Palm Springs days did too and we all partied together.

Then, I went. I packed for what would be three full days and three nights of a weekend that could only be described as life-changing. I went to Nashville, TN to be picked up from the airport by one of my most favorite people so I could meet his beautiful and awesomely wonderful wife. Then we, my same friend who visited just two weeks ago, another friend, too, all piled in a car to drive to Chattanooga. Another friend was getting married.

I hadn't slept in 36 hours and couldn't have been happier. I had three of my favorite people - two of my favorite men - sandwiched in a car for two hours.

I couldn't even begin to tell you the rest of the weekend. We went to a comedy murder mystery theater and laughed. I shared a room with a friend that made us laugh so much we couldn't believe our friendship brought us across the country.

There is more. I went to this wedding and was so blessed to have it as a tool or a reason to see one of my best friends. My heart felt torn for the four years I had let (yes...  let) go by. I cried inside and we immediately started planning my return. What a beautiful friendship to meet someone's wife and start a friendship as if we had been friends for years. To meet his Mom and feel as though I was talking to my own. Yes, I cried a little upon coming, but going was the hardest part.

Somehow, the universe might have known and flight delays kept me on the East coast for all of the 4th of July.

It's Independence Day. Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing, let the whole world know that this is a day of reckoning.

This day meant so much to me, and I spent five hours of it in an airport. I came off a weekend of creating new memories and new friendships and different relationships. I am, was, spent. I sat next to a woman at the airport bar.

Airport Mom said to me (I will paraphrase) "Karma is about things happening for a reason, it is not payback." 

It's a statement, even as a woman of Christian faith, that I enveloped my emotional heart around. I wondered, when you feel you left a piece of your heart somewhere or with someone, do you get that back? How? Is it by returning? Is it by faithful or divine intervention? Is going really going? Is it just the beginning of something you never anticipated beginning? Is missing someone the unexpected indication that you love them more than you thought?

Airport Mom's husband passed away in May. She had just returned from seeing her first husband on her getaway trip. She said she loved her second husband. Their time was so short, and she believed she served a purpose in his life, and he hers. Somehow, their path was the road that may lead her back to her first husband. The true love of her life.

If a chance meeting at an airport bar provides a lifetime of wisdom; imagine what a chance encounter at a wedding can do? Or a split decision amongst friends to share a hotel room? Or to eat Twizzlers? 

We are all coming and going to somewhere - where the heart is, where we hope the grass is greener, to where we believe we really belong. 

It's in that coming and going that we really live. It's not in that destination. This weekend I lived possibly more than I have in years. I lived in the in-between of coming and going, knowing it was not a short-lived reunion. It was just a passage of time leading to several lifetime friendships.

I hate goodbyes, but there are no goodbyes in coming and going.

"I'll see you soon."

To my friends referred to here, I love you more than I can articulate.

To my Airport Mom, I am in awe of your optimism and honest contemplation of your life's path, and the reminder to relish in the journey. Now, I really do understand that everything does happen for a reason.

That is the richest lesson, however full of heartache, one could ever stand to learn.
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