I have been pretty quiet on this blog since this summer. Let’s face it, I pretty much only know how to write about one thing and that one thing is myself. I write mostly because it is a way for me to keep moving through this crazy life of mine. When I write, I feel lighter and able to release whatever has got me all twisted up at the time. Since I can only seem to write about myself, when my life is a mess and my mess is my marriage, I become paralyzed. I am incapable of coming off like all is well when all is nowhere near.
I’m not going to write about my marriage and family right now. What I will say, is that I have been in some serious counseling for me alone and it has been amazing. Amazingly difficult, (I feel like I run an emotional half marathon every time I leave) and amazingly revealing and amazingly daunting. It takes a lot to unsugar coat my life and flat out feel the hurt. It takes a lot to sit in and not think that to be a good Christian, what I need to do is trust that God will bring “beauty from ashes.” Counseling initially caused some real isolation and some real internal chaos. It left me feeling like I was completely not who I thought I was or that all the trauma in my life left Holly far behind and in her place was some other random, ungrounded soul. But now it seems to be bringing me not only back to who I am, but into a much fuller understanding of who I am and how I have landed in the place where I have landed. To feel Holly-ish, again, feels awfully significant to me. Mind you, it’s still only in glimpses, but the sense of contentment I have when I capture it brings such relief. You know what made me feel a glimpse of Hollyness the other day? Probably, not what you expect . . . .It was a morning of a medley of misfortunes.
Tony had a business trip in California and since time away with him was not really a desire of mine for the past few months, I figured maybe I was ready to give it go. I found cheap tickets, my parents sweetly agreed to watch the kids and so all was lined up. I packed the night before. Most of my stuff was going with Tony, so I didn’t have to pay to check a bag. All I needed to carry was a large purse, which would be FREE. My phone had been on the brink of collapse for quite some time, but since I don’t like to spend money, I kept saying that I’d get a new one when mine dies.
So, I woke up early last week to make my flight and my phone wasn’t charged, even though I had charged it all night long. I figured it was the somewhat faulty cord, so I plugged it into the kitchen. I finished getting ready and the kids were running around getting ready for school, when I decided that this bag I’d be hauling around San Francisco all day was a little to heavy. Being a smart traveler, I pulled my wallet out to remove all the excess Panera cards and library cards, etc . . . Then in mid-card-removal, I noticed that my phone was not charging at all. It was DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! I called Tony as he was making his connection in Denver on his flight to at least get the name of the hotel I’m supposed to go to. Everything was on my phone – my boarding pass, Uber for when I’m there and need to get around the city before meeting up with Tony late that night and hotel reservations. So, I’m frantically printing out my boarding pass and getting last minute instructions from Tony on where to go and getting my kids to thebcar to get to school.
I calm down on my way to drop the kids off at school, realizing that I went a solid 25 years without a phone and managed to survive. I knew I could probably reach way back into my cell phoneless years and discover skills I hadn’t used in a while. About a mile from the airport, my phone decides to charge by 3%. I stay in the parking lot to SLOWLY charge it enough to make one phone call when I get to San Francisco. I walk through the doors of the Colorado Springs airport and get this nagging feeling that I didn’t remember putting my wallet back into my purse. I plop down mid-stride and sure enough . . . no wallet, no license, no money, no credit card. I bolt out to my car and calculate my chances for retrieving my wallet and still making my flight. I had 50 minutes before the doors would close. I hit my first obstacle trying to leave the airport. Miss mall cop parking monitor was not very forgiving. I owed a dollar for the seven minutes I was there and she would not let me leave. She literally kept asking who I could call to bring me a dollar. I was searching my car for change, but since I keep such a tidy car, (all my extra change is in my garage coated with creamer and a light cover of mold, if that tells you how clean my car is), I found six whole cents. She reluctantly let me go. I race down I-25 faster than I ever have, retrieved my wallet off of my counter and race back towards the airport. Surprisingly, I was beating the time on Google Maps and I was even going to get to the airport earlier than I thought.
I slam my car into park and run so much faster, by far, than I have since my herniated disc situation. I slowly sprint across the parking lot, I ungracefully, ballet leap over two chain dividers, I continue across a lawn (who knew they had a lawn), I run to the security line and beg the three people in front of me to cut, I go through security, I half put my tennies back on and race to find my gate. Of course, it’s not printed on my boarding pass, so I ask, while running, where the Frontier gates are. I’m sure you can guess, “At the end of the terminal.” I’m sprinting, because it’s 9:11 at this point and that is when the gates close. I seriously can not believe I’m going to actually make it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Relief is already setting in.
I breathlessly stop at my gate and the people sitting to the left of me, say, “They JUST closed the door.” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! This was not how this was supposed to end. Evidently, they are pretty strict about not opening that door again, even if you are only 45 seconds late.
So, I do the walk of shame, past everyone that watched me sprint down the terminal just seconds before, and head to the Frontier counter. On my walk of shame, instead of feeling like nothing can go right in my life, or that I’m ridiculous for leaving my wallet, I thought, “This feels like the Holly of Old.” Never quite together, but figuring it all out. I actually can’t explain it. How did I catch a glimpse of Hollyness in that moment? Maybe it’s because my old life used to be made up of moments like these? Who knows? But I can tell you, it actually made it all worth missing my flight.
I ended up flying out of Denver later that day, next to a relatively older, semi-high man named, “Cool Whip,” that repeatedly needed to know from the flight attendants in what model of airplane we were flying. He certainly added to the uniqueness of the day. When I arrived in San Francisco, I found my way to the hotel, where Oktoberfest was in full swing right there in lobby, with free food and free drinks. From that point on, the trip was nothing short of perfect.
Soon after my return, my friend, Kate, gave me this book. I am only about 22 pages in, but I’m not afraid to recommend it already. It is called, Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist. In the first chapter, she said, “. . . those skills I developed that supposedly served me well for the first half [of life], as I inspect them a little more closely, didn’t actually serve me at all. They made me responsible and capable and really, really tired. They made me productive and practical, and inch by inch, year by year, they moved me further and further from the warm, whimsical person I used to be … and I missed her. ”
I gave that an out loud, “AMEN SISTER!!!!!!”
First of all, that airport story is going to be a classic! I was going to say that you should’ve called me to bring you $1, but…I would’ve given you SO MUCH crap. 😉
Second of all, I know circumstances are different between people, but I think every one of us can relate to the idea of “losing” our true selves in various seasons of our lives. And trauma takes no prisoners. I can absolutely understand how you’ve felt off in so many ways. How you’ve needed to dig out of the pit. I’m proud of you for going to counseling and entering into the hard in order to reset the path towards health and wholeness. There is no substitute for walking it out in order to find that bold, beautiful, whimsical woman inside! For you and for all those you love. I am inspired to really give that Shauna Niequist phrase some serious thought — what skills I’ve developed and held on to that no longer serve me or the path that I’m destined to walk at this point. Good stuff.
You’ve been quiet on the blog, sister…that is true. BUT you have not been quiet in life. You’ve been marching through some difficult stuff like a brave warrior. I’m so so proud of you. And I really loved Shauna’s book, too. It’s such an important “re-set button” on the striving of the busy woman.
…and I love picturing you driving like a bat-outta-hell through the streets of Colorado Springs! Makes me laugh just thinking of you in this predicament – not that I would ever wish it on you!! Love to you on this journey back to Holly. Xoxo