Live Color Fully

today i am excited about everything.

The Big 3(0): Creator

A short series where I write about the three BIG things I’ve learned before 30, in honor of my new decade and turning the BIG 3-0. Which, by the way, happened recently, just in case we’re not friends in real life and you missed the 97 reminders I gave you. So. (Part I here, Part II here.)

Life is crazy.

I sincerely hope this is not the first time anyone has let you in on that little fact. If so, I’ll wait. You sit down for a second and take a breath or forty-five.

The rest of you, those that are giving the computer screen the equivalent of the 1990’s slang “duh”, those that live on planet earth and have been around for more than one day, life is crazy, amiright?

(I’m right. Not often, but this time).

Some days you wake up and it’s moving day. At the office, or at home. Or at the office and at home. Your best friend moves away, your boyfriend moves away, your family moves away.

Some days you get a new boss, or your old boss quits, or you become the boss. Other days, you start a new job. Or, you get fired.

Sometimes a friend needs you, and you pick up and go. You sleep in one state, and then a new one. And the next day? A new one again. Sometimes you’re the one who needs, and people file into your home(state), your home(sweet home), or your temporary home(stead).

Other days, you sit in a dark room reading out loud while your friend lays inside of a large metal machine that will tell her if something is wrong with her brain. Or, you sit cross legged on the floor of a hospital room playing a mindless card game with a child who will be sliced open, tomorrow. Some days the doctor tells you something is wrong, and you go to the hospital. Or a specialist. Or she says the scariest of all the scary english words, “Cancer”.

Some days, you wake up from heartbreak so binding you can’t breathe, and you cover it with makeup and brush your hair, and you go to work. Some days the phone rings and you pause everything to rush to the side of an ailing love.

Some days, you sit across the table from someone who holds your whole heart, and they tell you goodbye. Or, someone travels across the continent to sit across that same table and tell you they still love you. Some days you fight in a (way too) public place. Some nights you kiss in front of a lamppost under the moon. Some days you cry at the grocery store.

Some days you drown inside of endless pile of ToDo lists and unreturned phone calls and over-scheduled calendars and noteverenoughsleepandandand…

Some days, all these things happen at once.

Many days, all these things happen at once.

This is life, in all it’s muddy, chaotic, insane  glory. It is both beautiful and terrible.

It is light and dark.

And while Whitman claims that both are miracles (and he’s probably right), it really doesn’t make it any easier, does it?

When life begins to move, to wiggle, to swirl around me in blasts of color and pandemonium, when I try to find somewhere to plant my feet, I find myself here (again and again):

We must find our rooting outside of ourselves.

We can take deep breaths, we can calm our spirits, we can reach deep inside of us for a strength that wasn’t there before, but it just won’t be enough. For a minute, maybe. But the next day, when the sun rises again and brings with it a full new lovely day with full new lovely crazy, it won’t be.

And in 30 years, this is the most important lesson I’ve learned:

Find Faith in something bigger than just you.

Find the Creator, the one who picked out the coloring of your skin, and the coloring of your personality. And then, find His friendship, His love, His very Self. And put your feet there.

This Rock, my friends, doesn’t move. It doesn’t change. It doesn’t wiggle. It is the same (yesterday, today, forever).

And if you can put your feet there, the chaos of life, in all its dark and light, will spiral and billow around you. And? It will be okay.

Some days it will be scary, but you will still be safe. You will still be secure. You will have your roots stretching beneath you, deep in Steadfast Love.

The first two lessons are important and good, but this one is the most of both.

Most important. Most good.

This is a lesson I learned early, and then again at 23. Oh, and 24. And all the years after that.

And… today. And probably tomorrow. This lesson is a lifelong one, I think.

But today, surveying the Craziness-That-Is-Now from my place perched on this Rock, I feel my heart stretching in gratefulness. So here’s to 30 years, my dear ones. Lived alongside all of you, and alongside this Creator I love.

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Advertisements
1 Comment »

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. 

Leave a comment »

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.”

Leave a comment »

Adventures in Gall Bladder Surgery, Part 1.



I sat patiently in the cold metal chair, suspiciously eyeing the nurse as she stabbed my arm for the fourth time.

N: “What was your pain level again?”

Me: “About 10. Or 9. My fever’s almost 105, so I think I might be burning. From the inside.”

*pause*

Me: “Maybe if you wrote it down on the chart, it’d be easier to remember. You know, the pain level 10 thing. Written notes really help me.”

N: “Oh, yeah. Just as soon as I find this…. wait…nope, not yet. Sorry this is taking so long!”

Me: “That’s okay. Are you new?”

N: “9 years and counting!”

Me: “Oh.”

I shifted uncomfortably in the chair, considering the germs that were finding their way into my skin while I sat in this white-walled, windowless cave.

N: “Do you know your wristband is wrong?”

Me: “Oh, yeah. My name is misspelled. I tried really hard to convince your receptionist guy to give me one with my actual name on it. He tried 3 times and the best we could get was Ann Taylir. He decided it didn’t really matter.”

The nurse raised one eyebrow sharply, and ripped the needle she had just placed securely into my arm back into her not-so-steady fingers.

N: “We can’t go any further until we get that fixed!”

She took out a skinny permanent marker, and scribbled roughly onto the long piece of white paper-plastic blend.

N: “… t-a-y-l-O-r. There”.

*pause*

She flipped my arm over, and began to lower the needle towards my crazy-drug-addict looking arm.

N: “So WHAT was your pain level? 4? You look great! Like, maybe a 2.”

And then my head exploded.

1 Comment »