The friend who taught me to surf once said something to me about waves that made me do a double take. “It’s like dating,” she said. “You want to catch a wave that is straight with no one else riding it.” And indeed, when it comes to waves, it is much easier to catch one if it breaks in a straight formation with nobody on it.
I pondered this today as I thought about how one actually catches a wave. For instance, there are many that simply don’t take. You can paddle and paddle but sometimes they don’t break right or your timing is off. You can exert effort but ultimately the art of catching a wave is really about timing – being in the right place at the right time. There is an organic, mysterious process involved that simply flows when all appropriate factors fall into place.
Personally, life and relationships are like riding waves. You can struggle and struggle and go through periods where nothing rides. And then suddenly, something unique happens and bingo. Cowabunga. But as I mused on all this today, I realized that we can’t expect to catch waves unless we get in the water, nor can we expect experiences to flow magically without ever risking getting wet in the first place.
My life felt kind of Hollywood today. The romantic meet cute didn’t happen but it was filled with quirky moments nonetheless. First there was the airport security woman who patted me down and felt along my back. While exploring my spine, she asked me, “What is this you have?” “My bra…” I answered. “No beneath that.” “Uh, my spine…” Granted, I know I could probably stand to gain a few pounds but the security people need to get a clue. My spine is not a weapon concealed beneath my blouse! Then I’m sitting on a plane and am convinced one of my professors is on the plane. Sure enough, as I pull out a text to translate, my beloved Greek professor from last year walks down the aisle.
So, I have the unique opportunity to be in the Pacific Northwest for a few days and as always, the change of scenery expands my perspectives. On the ferry I struck up a conversation with a woman from England and we ended up spending the majority of the afternoon together. Below are some pictures from Pike’s place where they really do throw the fish around.
And here, I was surprised to see a number of people taking pictures of a Starbucks. Then it dawned on me. I was standing in front of the original Starbucks. So I played tourist and took a picture too.
So it was my Meg Ryan day. I’ll keep my eyes open for Tom.
My mother gave birth to me twice – once when she physically gave birth and when she took her own life. People often can’t fathom how a suicide could be an act of sacrifice and love but I know in many ways my mom thought of me when she took an intentional overdose. Her burdens had become so tangled up with my attempts at living that in a moment of selfless clarity, she saw the impact her choices had had on me for 39 years. Albeit, her final choice impacts me as well and yet, oddly – in it, she gave birth to me a second time.
I mention this because my birthday is tomorrow and I always think of my mom on my birthday, particularly now.
The last birthday I had with my mom weighs heavily on me because her depression was so palpable I could hardly stand it. I remember thinking time couldn’t pass quickly enough and then feeling sick at my own feelings towards my mother. The following year she was in jail for her 5th felony DUI and she sent a card with an envelope she decorated herself (see below). Upon receiving it, my heart twisted in two. I was touched by the thought of her coloring a card to me as if she were five years old (she probably didn’t have any money to buy me one from the commissary) but then I felt deep anger and shame that my mom was in jail. In her card, she wrote that she wanted to take me to dinner as soon as she got out of jail. I remember thinking that was the last thing in the world I wanted. I dreaded the “celebration.”
We never had the chance for that dinner. She took her own life before we could.
On my anniversary day – I celebrate and give thanks for the life my mother gave me and for the mother she was. Even in her darkest hours, she was gentle in spirit. A candle in the wind.
In native American tradition there is something known as dream time. It’s a state, whether asleep or actively conscious where the Divine speaks to us in the form of images, metaphors and words communicating wisdom, warnings and insights – if we pay attention.
I have always been drawn to dream time – sometimes unwillingly – for things break through and it just is what it is. Initially afraid, I have learned to pay attention and know that anything coming to me in the form of heightened intuition and divine intervention is simply to be tracked. Learning from various cultures about how they work with dream time has helped me better develop and contain this aspect of how my Maker shaped me.
Today my friend/colleague and I went on a hike in Sedona with a native American Indian as our guide. We weren’t certain whether the guy would be for real or not but I had a hunch he was going to be and that hunch paid off. He was a healer by nature and we were in a place in nature with a history of healing and prayer. These stones below (keep scrolling) actually represent prayers people have offered to God.
Healing is something deeply personal and not well expressed or communicated to others. I’m not even certain it is supposed to be. It’s a mystery, often quite private and usually experienced more on the internal vs. external dimension. But this morning represented more layers of the onion unfolding. More connection with the Divine. More of old snake skins shedding. It wasn’t a deep catharsis of emotion but more like release through the breath; a gentle rolling of tears.
During our excursion, we each came up with a native type name. I am now dancing sunshine. I was called sunshine as a child and I both love the sunshine and to dance. And when I surf, I see sunshine dancing on the water. I like it.
Thank you God for more experiences to feel you. The creation story resounds throughout the universe. May we live out the Imago Dei.
Mother’s Day approaches. During the last few years I’ve underestimated the emotional poignancy of the day, only to be ripped open by memories of my mother and the untimely way in which she ended her life. This time, I’m trying not to be caught off balance although I learned long ago that attempts to contain, control or schedule emotions is like trying to tame the wind. So I surrender and instead mother myself this week, along with thinking of my own mother and all the women who have nurtured me over the years.
There are places in the world that have healing vortexes of energy – areas saturated with God’s love, beauty and energy. And since I’ll be very near one of those places next week, I decided it would be nice to visit there on mother’s day to soak in God’s healing presence.
Mother Earth – Mother Mary – my mother Mary. May you be a healing vortex for me. As the sun drenches over canyons, may you also fill me with that light so that I too may be a healing vortex. Amen.