had this beautiful conversation with a good friend last week. we sat on the deck of one of the coolest starbucks i've ever been to-- it's in a little house, sits right on a small lake-- and the wind blew our hair all around and the sun shone on us and we cried and laughed and it was one of those memories you save like a beautiful picture in your mind.
today, i ran into an old friend in a parking lot-- she nearly killed herself trying to turn her car around when she saw me. last time i saw her, i was two days from a doctor's visit, afraid that i might have breast cancer (i didn't and don't), and she's a survivor. we knew each other during the season just before i met don and was going through some of the most dramatic and wonderful changes of my entire adult life. i was just off the mission field, and she was working through some struggles of her own, and we used to walk and walk and walk, along with another friend of ours, just talking. one of the richest seasons of my life.
but i didn't know it then.
i think about all the longing that accompanies tough seasons, and it occurs to me that all of those seemingly trite sayings are true-- that that which does not kill us makes us stronger (thanks to Steel Magnolias, it's always Dolly Parton that said that), that the tough times are like seasoning in life, that they're like tenderizers, etc. but what i know is this: we are in the moment right now. right this second. my friend today said to me that chemotherapy made her different from her mad-cap, always-a-little-freaked-out self. today she just breathes deep in the hard times and is just plain happy to be alive. i was sort of feeling that last week when my friend and i were sitting on that deck-- what a nice moment this minute right now is.
but there is still residual longing. when i mentioned to someone today that i would be "finished with my masters" in may, it flashed through my head how much pain i had felt before i went back to school to get my bachelor's. there is no shame in not having a degree in anything-- we all need to do what is right for each of us. for me, it was right to have a degree. or two. or even three, one day. i knew it was what i had to do- what i was meant to do--and i had put it off (while doing some very, very good things) for a long time. i became so emotional at the thought that it was happening... the thing i longed for, even ached for for some reason.... happening.
i think back on things, things which i do not think about often, but are triggered by weather or a certain color or fragrance of perfume or cologne, and wonder what might have been. i wouldn't change a stone in the path that has brought me to where i am, to the husband i am married to, or the things that i have learned, but i do wonder... would i, had i had the things i thought i wanted a lifetime ago, have come to this place? would other paths i longed to travel have brought me to this spot of fulfillment and rightness? my husband would say yes-- he's of the school that believes that what is meant to be will be... but i'm not so sure, though i am very glad he feels that way :). but sometimes i still feel that tug of longing and i wonder, why is that seed still there? why, when i know that there would have been no life in that path? it's not regret that i chose this path. it's not wishing i'd chosen another. it's wondering (when i say path, i mean career choices, travel choices-- not spouse choices. he's the one, bottome line. it was him or no one, in my mind).
i don't know. too many thoughts. too many thoughts that hold deep, private other thoughts.
but it always comes back to the fact that this, today, is right. and i can't believe the gift of it. i can't believe it. and i want to be like my friend who learned through sitting still at the door of death for many long weeks to enjoy today. i guess the longing of wondering brings an added richness--- maybe that's what the color orange is to me... a vibrant, hot, gorgeous ray of sunshine, but far removed from me. a color i can't wear-- it clashes with my hair-- but which i would put everwhere just to see.
ramblings. it's fun to pretend to be a not-so-teacherly doogie howser, md sometimes.