Life turns on a dime.
So, I ran away from home on Friday after work.
I had just come back from trying to balance vacation and work. I had done a crappy job of it. Not that there weren’t highlights of the trip, it just was that I wasn’t truly in vacation mode.
Now, I have come to believe that the vacation was just not quite done with me and it whipped me back up the mountain as fast as I could go. I am glad I listened to that inner voice and went back, I re-set my thoughts and am back in the present.
Life has a funny way of biting me in the ass just when I least expect it. This summer had been going smoothly, it seemed that the drama of the past 2 years had been quieted and the path ahead was more like a windy country highway than a dangerous 4 wheel-drive-only mountain road. Breathing had become more easy and my eyes were focused on what was right in front of me instead of what was behind me. The horizon had been getting clearer and clearer with each passing day.
But as I said…life has a funny way. Prior to vacation, the first round of the boxing match began, Coming back, I had survived into round three, but after a full-forced sucker punch, instead of going down for the count, I ran. And it felt great. This time around, the only way to win the fight was to leave.
I headed back to the vacation home – with New Wave music blaring and the essential provisions of Red Vines, Nutter Butters and bottled water. Nothing clears my head like a long drive. The music drowned out the cacaphony of thoughts and the driving focused my mind outside of itself.
Sitting in traffic along the Livermore/Pleasanton corridor at 5PM on a Friday afternoon, I had time to calm down. After I sang at the top of my lungs and head-bopped to songs from the early 80s, it became clear what I had to do. (Nothing says spiritual enlightment like Bow-Wow-Wow’s “I Want Candy!”) I needed to pray, to give gratitude, and to acknowledge all that was swirling around inside me.
But what I also needed was a soft, safe place to land. When I got back up to the vacation house, I surprised everyone still there. The joy of seeing me was in their eyes, their arms opened wide to welcome me back, even before I began to cry. And when the tears began, the love flowed even more.
I arrived in time for dinner. A glass of wine was offered and heartily accepted. We sat down around the table and gave thanks for each other and our relationships. Damn those ribs were good! I continued to calm down and slip into the familiarity of friends and family.
No one asked for details.
No one tried to fix me.
Everyone was simply present for me to lean upon.
That night, after many games of Sequence, much laughter and an unsolicited backrub, I went and I did what I had gone up there to do.
Along the roadside, we had discovered a garden that sparkled with magic during the night. The creator had placed solar-powered lights throughout her garden and at night it light up like the Mine of the Seven Dwarves. She interspersed the roundest of granite rocks amongst rusted man-made objects. She had overturned pots filled with flowers and had a rusted tin man with rosemary herb for hair.
The garden was so whimsical and magical; we could only experience it in pieces; the sum of the whole was too much to take in. The one portion of the garden that clearly spoke to me was the altar of rocks. I went back to re-visit that altar and to give up all that was swirling around inside.
As the nearly full moon shone upon me, I offered up prayers of gratitude, forgiveness and hope. I asked for peace and courage, not for me, but for others in my life. And then I asked the same for myself. What did I have to offer the Creator in that moment? As my lucky charm, I have been carrying around a 1963 silver dime in my wallet for years. I slipped that dime into a crevice within one of the altar rocks. My offering came from the heart and I felt a release like no other.
I still cried. And then cried again.
Those things that caused me to run are still here.
But I am ready to continue.
I am blessed.