Saturday, June 29, 2013

Benched and Awake

You know those days that seem brighter than all the rest?

There are days when I take a walk, and everything has a certain sheen. It’s as if the world is jumping from it’s casing, pricking me on the skin, and making me aware of everything.  My senses are heightened, and my mind sharper as life begs me to drink it all in. I already notice everything, but on days like these my attention to detail has intensified. I am awake.

On days like these, I might finish my walk, and go into town on an errand. As I brush passed strangers, they are no longer a haze, but a chasm of individual stories and happenings. Each person has a face, and each person has a story. As I fill my basket at the grocery store with odds and ends, necessities and indulgences, I might notice a mother and her toddler. I’ll begin to study her face, as well as her little daughter’s. There’s a vacant routine being followed, evidenced by small wrinkles barely visible, furrowing the mother’s brow. I might linger on her story as I proceed to the checkout line. There I’ll switch my focus to the cashier, a perhaps middle-aged woman with no ring on her left-hand ring finger. As I leave, I might compliment her necklace and flash her a smile infused with all the sincerity a stranger’s smile could convey.

I proceed this way for the remainder of the day. The air is still tangible, the trees alive, everything with a purpose. On days like these, I observe. Something has pulled me from the opaque glass that often blankets my world. Often I amble through, very much in my own head, with life intricacies buzzing, and sometimes shouting through my head. Shouting things that don’t matter. Shouting things that shouldn’t be taking up the majority of my thoughts, or any of my time at all. -Things that distract me and from what’s going on around me.  I find myself yearning for, and missing the world. My awareness is savored on these “awake” days, if I’m lucky enough for it to last an entire day.

-Because eventually days end, and I sleep. I wake with the nagging thoughts of the trivialities of daily life, plunging me back to that opaque world with rhythmic, methodical blows. But, as with most things, the unnatural “awake” days can become more frequent than infrequent with practice. I’m learning to quiet my unsettled thoughts and worries, and to set them aside in a useless room in my brain. I don’t appreciate when others nag me, so why do I allow MYSELF to nag me? I’ve found, that as I’ve sent my nagging thoughts to their own room in my brain, that I’ve made room to notice. I’ve tried to clear my head. I’m trying to notice. I’m trying to stay awake.

Monday, May 27, 2013

He Offered Me His Pillow

     It can be the smallest kind gesture from a stranger when you feel like you're about to break. When life weighs down your spirit and your heart. 
It was only a pillow.
     I pulled down my tray table and hunched over about to fall asleep. This would be a long flight.
     "Would you like my pillow?" -He was asking genuinely. I don't know this guy, and he doesn't know me, yet he offered me the only assistance he had available. 
     Could he feel my listlessness? Could he sense the storms inside of my soul? 
He offered me his pillow.
     It was as if he'd offered an umbrella for me to use as I waited for my private storms to subside.
     He wasn't the only one.
I'm in the middle seat with strangers on either side of me. Pillow guy to my right, and blanket guy to my left. 
He offered me his blanket.
     "Would you like my blanket?" He asked.
I gratefully declined, like I do with everyone else's help.
     Another kindness.
     When I boarded this flight, confusion, doubt, and traces of sadness and regret swirled through my body, overwhelming my thoughts and bruising my heart. I began to sift through the causes of my anxieties, mapping out the resolutions, one facet at a time.
     I prayed to my ever patient Father in Heaven, consulting Him, and allowing peace to replace the fears that were flowing through my veins.
     This is when I pulled down that tray table, hunched over, waiting for lucid sleep to take me.
He offered me his pillow.
He offered me his blanket.
     Standing in my own personal raging storm, these strangers, along with the promise of peace from my Heavenly Father, have equipped me with an umbrella and a coat, some comfort.
It was just a pillow.
It was only a blanket offered from two strangers on a plane.
     But it made all the difference.
               I think the sun will come out soon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Benched in the Wind

It was 73 degrees in North Carolina today with a wind advisory. The unseasonable warmth and the strong wind around makes me wistful...

Maybe they saw you and you didn’t see them, or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe you missed each other by only an inch and meandered in every direction except the one that would lead you to each other. Or maybe your paths wound in such a way where you brushed passed each other for just a moment, caressing your skin at the touch. The twinge made you pause, but you were too caught in the current to exude the effort to let the moment linger, or gather any significance from the experience. You wouldn’t allow yourself to be stayed. Perhaps the wind was warm, causing your back to coil and your toes to flex with each goose bump. But maybe the wind was cold, and icy, making you cringe and shy away. Why didn’t you stay when the wind was warm, and the sun came out from behind the clouds that day?

The wind is an interesting creature. It likes to be gentle, slow and free. It likes to breathe, and see everything. It likes to be carried by its whims, and jostle things slightly in its paths. It tries to run from storms, but often get stuck in them. Sometimes it’s pleasant, at times uncomfortable. Sometimes it nudges us to directions we hadn’t planned on veering. Sometimes it knocks us off balance, and we have to pick ourselves up, or be humble enough to allow someone to pull us off the ground. Sometimes we get caught in the wind, and continue to jaunt from place to place, never settling on anything, anyone, or anywhere in particular.

I’m caught in the wind. Perhaps it’s time the wind brought me somewhere to stay. Perhaps it’s time the wind and I took a little break.