August 29, 2013

Earthly Angels

Squished in the sweaty mosh pit of bodies I never wanted to touch I stood with my hands in the air, singing and swaying to the music. The drum beats echoed through my ears making my head spontaneously bop in beat. Hundreds of us moved in sync from the pressure of the crowd.

We far exceeded the amount of persons in a limited space.

My hand was grabbed as my friend Amanda was lifted to crowd surf and she tried to grab me along.

Her eyes beckon me to get her down, but their pull was too strong for me. I watch her body float through groping hands---farther and farther away from me. And then I hear a thud and she is gone.

My Taurus celestial self pushed through the crowd as they tried to push me back.

Glaring at a group of guys I said, "Move!" as steam blew out of my nostrils. I was determined to get to Amanda and make sure she was okay.

Obscenities were thrown at me but mostly deflected by the constant ringing in my ears.

 I was determined and I found her.

I grabbed her to make sure she was okay and then we both launched into telling our side of this story.

"I just realized, we have known each other for 18 years," Amanda wrote me earlier this week.

We met in college during soccer pre-season and shared too many stories never to be told.

From showering in my cleats, to belly rings, to concerts, to Sarah's salad, to sleeping bags, to boyfriends, and marriages, and births and deaths we have shared it all.

Of all that life has given me one of the greatest gifts has been some lifelong friends.

When worries plaque my head and the road I am traveling on seems a little too fearful, I retreat to these people.

They remind me of better days and who I know I am, but seem to have lost momentarily.

Sometimes, the just whack me upside the head.

A collection of cards they have sent remind me I am special. A heart hangs on my wrist reminding me I am loved. Music recordings sent confirm that the grove is still alive. A blessing basket reminds me that ordinary days can turn extraordinary from just a "hello."

I think that friends may really be our earthly guardian angels.

And I am so thankful for mine!

August 16, 2013

Unwritten Obituaries

His deep bass voice was easily recognizable and his laugh echoed the same beautiful tone. His snow white hair and beard adorned his large frame and gave off the aura of importance.

He would snap his fingers and his son would come running on command. I often felt compelled to do the same. That is how big of a presence he made.

I learned quickly that his domineering presence was not a reflection of his gentle loving heart. This big booming jolly man fought through kidney disease while never losing the twinkle in his eyes.

He became a welcomed "parent" in my world quickly.

When I graduated college, his alma mater, he made the 5 hour trip to see my commencement. By this time he was walking with a cane and limp and I know this trip was rough, but he was there.

I received news this week that Bill's body finally gave up it's fight of 17 years with kidney disease. What an amazing addition he is to the choirs of Heaven!

Bill was gifted 66 years and I honestly believe he wasted none! He gave, he loved, he shared, he encouraged, he supported. Pieces of him are reflecting in the lives of others because of the way he lived.

Naturally, when I hear of a death it causes me to pause.

When my life train gets involuntarily derailed and my inner demons taunt my worth, I often find myself reflecting on what will be said when I die.

In reality we are every day writing our own obituary. Not that our decisions should be based on what we want others to say when we die, but that our choices should reflect who we truly are and the legacy we want to leave.

Back in March 2008 I wrote the following in my journal: "Lately I have thought a lot about my life and I try to think what I want my obit to say. I feel it is insignificant to list my professional accomplishments, but I hope it says: on my tombstone- Now Dancing with Jesus, not resting in peace!; in my obit- full of love, life and compassion, shared a glimpse of Jesus with others through actions, mom that made us all feel like we were her favorite, wife who stood by me and loved me unconditionally, a true friend who enlarged others, Jesus lover and prayer warrior. Thinking of these things make me TRY to evaluate how I act each day. Oh I fail a lot- but I'm trying."

I am not sure what caused me to write this years ago, but much of it still rings true today.

It is all too easy to get bogged down in a job we don't want to do, or stuck in a place we don't want to live, or a trapped in a life we are not living. Because...well, we all think we have time.

In the future, I will..... we all say. We place core components of who we are on the back burner playing a twisted game of Russian roulette with time.

Why? Do you know your expiration date?

There are no guarantees in this life but this one...we are all going to leave this earth some day.

I don't know about you, but the sad solemn typical farewell service is not what I want. I want my leopard colored coffin (although I am debating being cremated and put in a bottle and thrown in the ocean to travel the world with a note to call when you find me to let others know where I am partying) to be surrounded with my friends who are dancing and alive. Who have tucked a part of me in the corner of their hearts to spur them on to keep living.

Too often we wake up too late. Too often we let fear hold us back. Too often we lose our enthusiasm for life.

"If you had permission to do what you really want to do, what would you do? Don't ask how, that will cut your desire off at the knees. How is never the right question, how is a faithless question. It means unless I can see my way clearly, I won't believe it; I won't venture forth."

Our world has advance so much that we are crippled. When prairie people hitched up their wagon to venture to a new land, they didn't check their GPS to make sure there were no accidents to avoid or bad weather to hinder their journey.

They saddled up and rode forward.

There are several people I am thinking of right now who have shared that they wish certain things for their life. I believe that these are true desires of who they are and the life they were meant to live.

And I pray everyday that their obituary doesn't stay unwritten.

August 8, 2013

Even So...She Shines Like Never Before

Her fragile heart hid beneath a self created cocoon of control. Where routine left no room for unexpected pain or joy. Where life was lived as a cookie cutter version of social mores. Days and times could be predicted by parking lots filled or empty.

Until "one day, she remembered that the only person who could make her happy was herself! So she took back her power, re-claimed her place in the world and shined like never before!"

Getting to this point was a tormented journey of alone. Friends fell away and she was shunned. Hate was thrown across the miles and scarred the fragile heart more. Trust and love became daggers with conditions.

Yet she pressed forward.

Letting the mask of expectations of others slowly break away. Revealing the person she had squelched so many years ago.

She felt alive, saw the magic of the world, tasted the sweetness of pure simple joy, yet her heart still rested within her safe cocoon.

Until one day, she decided to put it out there a little more than usual. And it was okay. Until it wasn't.

And time would pass. She would fight through to put her heart out there again. And it was okay. Until it wasn't. And again...and again...and again...

Yet others rarely saw this or understood how much it was a leap of faith to put heart out there over and over again. For they never understood what caused her to create the safe cocoon in the first place.

"That's the is not now..." was echoed from others who could so easily close the past door and walk away. Or perhaps their hearts where just more resilient, or maybe they really never gave them away in the first place.

It doesn't matter.

Her heart fits nicely in the self created cocoon of control and for now that is okay. After all, she has come so far. And she still shines like never before!