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Friday, April 14, 2017

Wilderness

I wrote this about these two women who saved me recently:
You know when you were little and at the beach and a wave would come in and knock you off your feet? And you'd be down, tumbling, salt water getting in your nose and eyes and burning like crazy? And you just couldn't find your feet? But sometimes your big brother or daddy or mama would be standing right there and snatch you up and plant you back in the ground? Today was like that.”

My heart’s meditation is “thank you”. I whisper my gratitude, I weep my gratitude, I repeat my gratitude, I say it often and clearly and freely.  I am so, so thankful. 

I have so much to be thankful for. 

There was a night only a couple weeks ago I found out the house I thought was mine wasn’t.  It took thirty seconds for the panic attack to come.  Can you hear and feel seconds? I could with these. I looked at the living room I was still pretending to live in. 1.2.3.4.5. At my two children. 6.7.8.9.10. At the good friend sitting next to me while I took the call—Fezzik to Inigo for these few weeks—him watching me closely to try to understand the phone call I’d just received. 11.12.13.14.15. I stood up. 16.17.18.19.20. I walked to what used to be our room. 21.22.23.24.25. I curled up in a fetal position on the bed. 26.27.28.29.30. And I was gone. 

Fezzik had ordered Chinese food.  Inigo got vegetable soup in the movie, but this night Fezzik was pretending Inigo was gonna eat teriyaki chicken.  Inigo, in real life, has been surviving on wine. The rule is to never drink alone, so I’ve had lots more social time than I’m used to lately. 

There’s a cutesy slogan shirt I love that says “Self-Rescuing Princess”. It’s perfect, right? And I’m strong as anything y’all, don’t mistake me. But right now? Right now I’m a goblin, a moth, a feather. I’m dead and gone. I’m a plastic bag, smaller than my body, I’m the cockroach from the one Kafka story you know, I’m the black sheep, the bad friend, the world’s okayest mom ever.

The night I had the worst panic attack ever I left my bed for all the love it once contained and stood in the alcove of the front porch of that damned house.  Head between my knees, I tried hard to remember how to breathe with the new weight of a thousand bricks on my chest.  Every breath was a ragged sob.  I was choking, and desperate for air.

During this drama, a southern sweetheart approached my porch with a bag of Chinese food.  Of course.  Because Fezzik was pretending and so was Inigo.  “Honey, are you okay? What can I do?!” I stared at her, deer in headlights.  My throat was closed. The physiological parts of my body that made words no longer did.  She peered past me, through the glass door, into the house half packed. The house I was pretending to still live in.  “You moving? It’s stressful, huh?”  I nod yes, and tell her I don’t know yet where I’m going, but need to be there in a couple days.  With my kids.  Her eyes widen and she tells me that sounds tough, but she needs me to know I’m gonna be okay.  She says she thought she was gonna be homeless but then she got this job, and found a trailer and roommate and now she’s doing alright.  She tells me I’m too pretty to be so sad.  She blesses me. 

I signed for the food and took a deep, shuddery breath before going inside.  I decided on the next house and applied, getting approved the next morning. 

Once I moved, another opportunity arose for Chinese delivery. Obviously.  She came with the food.  I stepped out onto the porch, and she told me she drove by my old house the night before, wanting to check on me but not wanting to be intrusive.  She’s been praying for me, and thinking of me, and hoping I found a place to stay.  I had. 

This is a story about a Chinese food delivery stranger who loves me.  You can’t imagine what the people who know me and love me and my family have done. 

So? So right now I’m not a princess. And certainly not a self rescuing one.  I have a freaking army at my back right now. They pull me from the murky tide. They order food and pretend I’m going to eat it.  They pack my boxes on one side, and unpack them on the other.  They sit by me while I drink wine so when I inevitably start to cry they’re ready with a shoulder.  They remind me what I was talking about before, because I’m lost. Always. A place I’ve never been before now. And they let me know that’s okay, because they’re in the dark woods with me. 


I am grateful. 

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