Live Color Fully

today i am excited about everything.

A Little Madness

Almost two years ago, during what I hope someday I’ll be able to call “the only bleak year in my life,” I kissed a stranger in the airport.

While the airport is always a dramatically romantic location in films, let’s be honest: in real life, the airport is gross. There’s very little of people diving across misplaced ropes to finally, finally say Those Three Words. Or people longingly pressing their faces against a full length window, sunshine streaming in, looking with a sense of unrequited love towards the plane that’s taking with it a handsome wo/man, and their heart.

On this side of reality, people are stale & rotting from traveling across the sky in an oppressive metal box, and there is a vague sheen of germs on every surface. If you press your face to the window, you should assume that from that point forward in the timeline of your life, you have typhoid fever. It’s dark, weirdly damp, and dirty.

And it was there, amidst the chaos of after-holiday travel, that I had a complete breakdown.

It was the travel day that will forever live in infamy as “The Day I Took A Drug Test In The Airport”. After I had been cleared (whew!), I found my seat on the plane next to a man I can only remember as “Ranger”. As we traveled above the clouds, we chatted about his life- in training to be an Army Ranger (hence the clever name), and mine- trapped in a job that broke some unidentifiable part of me.

And, of course, the things we had in common: Moms that were teachers, awesome Sisters, a love of music, faith in our Creator, and the importance of people. By the time we landed, we were Facebook friends.

We smiled and said goodbye, and I headed towards my connecting flight, the one that would (with my strained permission) sweep me away from almost everyone I loved in the world and back to my difficult life.

So.

So, I scuffled toward C12, completely shutting down my brain and forcing the muscles in my legs to step, step, step.

As I rounded the corner, I froze.

In this modest pocket of the airport, there were 4 gates: one to my beautiful hometown (Wichita), one to the place I became a grown up (Louisville), one to the place my college friends have settled (Indianapolis), and one to Little Rock.

My brain went into overdrive. “LITTLE ROCK”, it screamed, hurting my head and every part of my being. “GET ON THE PLAAAAANE”.

My heart whispered back, low and gentle, the ever-formidable opponent: “no”.

I sat down.

In the middle of the terminal, holding an oversized bag and my sunglasses, with chaos all around me, I broke.

Both people and time moved nearby, but in the air I was breathing, everything stood still.

And I melted.

For what felt like 2 minutes (or maybe 2,000), I sat cross-legged on the grimy tiled floor, silent tears running down my face.

Then, two hands on my shoulders, lifting me up. I looked into Ranger’s face, his eyes searching mine.

“Uh, WHAT are you doing? Are you okay? You should probably not be sitting on the floor. There’s seriously a chair like, 10 feet from you right now.”

Laughter bubbled out of me, the moment took hold of my heart, and I placed my hands on either side of his face and kissed him, right on the mouth.

It was, by far, one of the most absurd things I’ve ever done. Ever. And that includes the time I went to Naked Ballet in college with my then-boss, the Ed Head for the I-O.

And then the moment ended; we both laughed. And somehow, through the haze of my crazy, I knew I was going to be okay.

 

A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free. Nikos Kazantzakis. 

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Adventures in Gall Bladder Surgery, Part II

(Read Part I here)

Hours later, I lay motionless on a cold metal tray the hospital kept referring to as “the bed”. Ultrasound finished, infection reigned king and not only was I not going home, there was a chance that at any moment my body was going to attack itself, resulting in death. I KNOW. Apparently, positive thinking and an array of various pain killing drugs alone wouldn’t be enough to heal this.

I looked up as a handsome young man strode in. Wearing an eye patch.

NOTE: He probably looked like this:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECOND NOTE: In my mind, he looked like this:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Him: “Hi, I’ve looked over your chart. Yikes! We’re not even going to be able to slice into you until we get some of that infection out of your body.”

Me: *pause* “We?”

Him: “I’m a surgery resident here. Can you lift your shirt? I’d like to be yet ANOTHER person to put my hands awkwardly and painfully onto your naked flesh.”

(okay, that last part might, MIGHT, be a slight misrepresentation of the actual dialogue. There’s really no way of knowing, and that’s the way my brain is remembering it.)

Me: “Sure.”

(silence).

Me: (carefully studying his face). Sooo… you’re wearing an eye patch.”

Him: (stabbing painfully at my sore gall bladder) “Oh! Yeah, my dog scratched my eye. I don’t actually get any days off. Damn school. So, here I am!”

Me: “Oh. Wow, um, what a really… great story.”

Him: humming “A Whole New World” from Aladdin.

Me: “So, just a quick question for you…”

Him: “Sure! Ask anything… wow, this is gross! It’s about 4 times its normal size!”

Me: “Yeah. Everybody keeps saying that. Heeeere’s the thing. Are you going to be doing my surgery? I’m only asking because while you really won me over with that fun story about your flesh eating dog, I’d feel a bit more comfortable if my surgeon was able to see out of both eyes. I mean, that kind of seems like a bare minimum thing.”

Him: (laughing) OH, no! I’m not your ACTUAL surgeon, I’m just checking you out for the real surgeon. She’ll be in here in just a moment. They barely let me do anything right now. Good one, Ms. Taylor!”

Me: “You should probably lead with that in your next room visit.”

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Love Wins

I will always be grateful for therapy.

Years ago, now, I sat in a stale, small, windowless room, with my knees pressed tightly to my chest. I leaned deep into awkwardness, into the past, and into opening my heart, painfully, one stitch at a time.

As often happens with hearts, wide open it bled, it cracked, and I thought it would probably never mend. It was disfiguring. It felt like death.

But the funny thing about damaged hearts? About that tear-stricken pain?

On the other side, the brokenness heals. The open wound begins to close, and this time, there’s nothing slowly decaying underneath.

Stitch by stitch, guided by a woman three times my age (and ultimately, my Creator), I opened myself for the first time to love. To genuine love.

That relationship ended in a car crash similar to that ever-famous scene in Blues Brothers, and yet- this thanksgiving season has me indebted to those college hours. Because there is something new budding in my life, and I catch myself wanting to push back, to build walls, to examine under a microscope with cynicism and disbelief.

Years later, older (but barely wiser), I know both sides of relationship well: open wins.

So instead, I shuffle forward. Small steps, yes, but steps possible because of that teeny room and tenderhearted woman.

(praise).

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