Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, Change if you can't be bound.

Hi Dear Friends + Perfect Strangers,

I wanted to share with you a monologue/quote that I'd heard tonight.  Okay, it's got a bit of sadness to it, but look at it for what it means.  Consider that maybe it's not grief for you, but fear, or self-esteem, or un-joy or whatever the texture is of the goop we get stuck in in life.  I think it's beautiful and true and cuts right to the quick of what defines moving forward.  I'm on this "moving forward" kick I think since I've now lived a solid amount of life and continue to refine how I live it.  For how I choose to clean up and prioritize my intentions.  For myself, for who I am becoming, and very importantly, for who I give myself to daily.  That and a quatrilion other reasons that I've known, never known and/or one day I'm sure I will know in very heart-achingly real and exacting ways.  This started off as an email to my closest, dearest friends.  Those who know me.  Aside from family, friends and faith, there are three things in life I fall back on: Quotes, Coffee and Running.  When I was in high school, I collected my favorite Reader's Digest quotes, and others I picked up randomly from conversations or literature.  I once filled an entire journal with quotes.  I started love letters with them.  I recited them to our soccer team before games.  While many people lift their noses at using "other people's words" to help define or articulate meaning, i think it's a beautiful way of recycling emotion or communication we cannot ourselves define at a given moment.  So yes, a quote for you tonight.  

"You're grieving not only for what you lost, but for the life you had envisioned.  You're grieving the future; for all of the plans and dreams you had in your head.  Now that's all gone.  There is this wonderful saying, "You have to give up the life you've planned to find the life that's waiting for you."  All our lives we grow by giving up things.  By loss, by moving on.  Big Things, little ones.  How we handle those losses really defines who we are.

All you need is a place where you can talk out loud; where you can hear what you really think.  What YOU think.  What you want to do and what you don't want to do.  And you'll know when it's time to move on.

If you don't acknowledge and feel it, it will never get out of your way.  Unacknowledged feelings are like a drunken cousin at a family reunion; they never shut up so you can hear anyone else and you have to be able to hear what's next in your life, what path you might want to travel down.  You have to be able to see what's there, what's right there, right in front of your eyes."


Saturday, October 23, 2010

if this were a song I would make it taste like what grace is. and it would be as long as the hill is home. there would be a bridge that sounds like dreams and three chords that sound like what it feels like when we try something beautiful and it stays in our chest forever.

I'm currently sitting barefoot propped up on my couch, thankful for my last minute decision to forgo an early morning run in exchange for a mug of coffee, the latest New Yorker and the beginnings of writing a much-needed post about all the hearts.

All the hearts?” you ask. Let me explain.  Two weeks ago, I journeyed to Tuftonboro, NH to volunteer at Camp Meridian, a free three-day camp for kids with heart disease.  Last year, while in the throes of figuring out where my Life was headed next, an old friend asked if I could pinch hit as a bunk counselor.  I had no idea what i was in for but I packed a sleeping back, warm clothes, a head lamp and headed out to shake hands with one of the best weekends of my life.

This year was just as amazing as the first.  Some new faces, another adventure, great weather and a very special three days.  Our theme was the Midnight Train to Mombassa.  We were the Leopards, one of three groups who were working to bring the spirit of the drum back to the Chief so the animals, upon hearing the song of the drum, could once again return to their sacred land. I actually get really excited about this stuff - like right there with the kids in the woods in the dark examining the feather wondering, "what could this BE?!"  I'm still a child.  All good fun.  
I could write about how the kids were the most amazing, inspirational humans I’d ever encountered.  How the staff at Merrowvista (the 600-acre property run through AYF that hosts Camp Meridian) draw straws/throw their names in a hat/arm wrestle in the hopes that they get pulled to work the camp.  And every single one of them are flippn kickarse and have no problem jumping on a table or breaking out into song just because they feel like it. I could tell you about the property, the rolling hills and cabins tucked away in slumbering forests, and how when you wake up in the middle of the night the sound of silence is so loud that you’re not sure if you’re actually awake or asleep.  And all of these things would be true and viable and absolutely part of the reason this camp is awesome. 
But the real reason i love this camp, the real real real reason I love this camp is because the people who bring this camp to life believe in it.  I mean really BELIEVE in the good that it is.  With all of their heart they believe it.  And the day that one year ends is the day the planning begins for the following year. 

There are very few times in my life that I’ve seen passion.  I mean, sure, I’ve seen desire and love and dedication - all in parts.  I’ve been loyal to my work, my job, my friends.  But I don’t know that I’ve experienced a dedication to a dream that is seeing the fruits of its labor.  I hope one day I will see or come to know what that fierce passion and dedication feels like.   When you see someone who is completely and entirely determined to push through any barrier because of what they believe in; they are driven by a strength, an energy, a grace, a power, a love that stems from a source that runs far deeper than surface or practice or habit.  That kind of passion is so fully part of who they are that you can’t break them off from it to see what they look like without it.  They just, well, they’ve given who they are to it.  And it is beautiful to bear witness.

 I’m excited for next year.  The kids are growing up and that’s cool (and sad).  Mark won’t be there (he’s in high school now!), Tiffany and her yellow crocs better make an appearance, Sydney will be in the teen group (woot!) and I, well, I hope I have the blessed chance to walk into Danforth with a sleeping bag under my arms, a headlamp on my head, an appetite the size of a black bear (camp food; addictive. so is the coffee), looking for the markers to draw bunk posters, high-fiving super amazing humans that I’ll have the supreme honor of working alongside, and of course, the kids who...are just really cool kids.  Really awesome kids with futures as big as their smiles.  As big as their hearts.

ps. I know this may sound dorky, but almost every night since camp, I've worn the cloth strip the kids were given the final night (wearing it on my wrist in the pix of me and Syd doing our best Charlie's Angel pose).  The three different fabrics represent the three teams from the weekend; the Zebras, Leopards and Cheetahs.  And signifies the characteristics kids learned throughout the various activities; putting others before self, believing in yourself, stretching the boundaries of what you know to be true, hope, possibility, encouragement, hard work and a lot a lot a LOT of fun.   Wearing it reminds me of what matters most. 
it's too easy to forget those things! 

the road home, nh

Thursday, October 7, 2010

old friends

i love looking through iPhoto and remembering.  I remember when all of these happened.  I mostly remember not breathing when I took these shots.  all of them -  probably 20 bad ones for every good - that's a long time not breathing.  once, i drooled because i forgot to swallow.  i love getting up close to flowers.  i think they are a universe.  

which reminds me that i need to hold my camera in my hands again.  it's been too long and i miss the way it feels.  i miss the slobber and the goodness that came from the frame.
get into my eye, world.  get into it.

fragile beauty in the petal lines and edges.  that's what drew me to this flower that was coming to its end.

"i wish to be outside. oh, that i weren't dried." - i think that's what it's thinking.

these were sitting out for days before i landed in them with my camera.  and then i couldn't stop!  i have a million lily shots....and had pollen all over my face to prove it:)
gatorade for flowers.  not invented yet.

Monday, October 4, 2010

monday blues.

i wish i could write happy, positives right now. A rainy night could use a lift.
I wish i had a million happy thoughts.  if you were to ask people who know me what i’m like, they’d say i’m pretty filled with happy.  and most of the time, they are right.
today i am melancholy.  today i think about a lot of things.  
I think of the special time I had this weekend with my grandparents and how Pops is ninety-one and walks with a cane and a shuffle and laughs the same way that he did when i was nine only there’s a lot more skin on his face and his eyes water.  I think about my Gram, who plays with my hair just like she did when when i was young.  Only now I can have adult conversations with her and tell her about my job and she listens in with the same love that only a Grandmother who loves her daughter who gave life to her grandchild can.
i think about how much longer i have them.
i think about a boy i like who doesn’t like me.  
i think of someone i work closely with who is so awful to me and makes me feel small.  no one has the right to do that.
i think about my sister who lives halfway across the country and how we have different lives and life moments and how we were attached at the hip until we were 23 and where did the time go and all i want, ALL i want,  is to be sitting right next to her and laughing.
i think about my right eye, which is what I focus on for some reason when I look at me in the mirror.  It’s what i looked at today when I looked at myself in the mirror after a really hard day at work.  And you know what was cool?  My iris is not quite deep blue and it’s not exactly “wolf-like” like my mother’s and there are these specs - little dark blue freckles in my iris and my pupils widen really big when I try to look closely at all the striations of my baby blues which got me thinking about sight and seeing and all the things that have touched my heart, because I have seen them first.
I’m melancholy, which is not to say I am not happy.  I’m happy, but i am seeing things and their soft edges today, my inability to color in the lines.  To make them stay.  
today i ran in the rain with Claire who’s friendship is a treasured gift, and I shared how not in control I felt about so many things.  it grew night around us as we took down the streets and made some semblance of this strange life with its Givings and its Taking Away.  life is hard.  we can’t control anything.  and being sad about that is okay.  

if I were actually in control of Everything, i should think I would trip over myself trying to hang on to all the things that are so important to me.  I’d hold on to things so tight it would hurt.  sometimes I catch my self with heart-fists (like today) and I will myself to let go.  just muscle memory.  In this vast world with our small but significant experiences, i am thankful that the One who made my eye is in control of the entire world and all of its problems and heartaches and joys and failures and insecurities.  It would be very defeating to not have hope, or faith.
and on days like today i need only my iris to remind me.