Just Write {95}

July 29, 2013

At O’Hare I got confused about where to find a cab. Then I found one with a driver that smiled big and took my bag and we had a very long talk about faith and life. He is openly Muslim and I am openly Christian. We both have our reasons for hiding from our labels. Javid, his name, and he laughed when I told him mine. Heather is apparently (with a little different spelling) a male name where he comes from, almost thirty years ago, Pakistan. He said it means brave and strong and then teased that I don’t look all that physically strong.

He explained why it’s good to be near a friend or family member’s grave so every time you drive by, you can pray for them. He said it’s best for the parents to pray because God is more sure to listen. You can’t get away with doing whatever you want, he said. There have to be consequences but you can go to Heaven and be with God if the things that are keeping you away, even in the grave, are forgiven after all the prayers from your loved ones.

Our whole conversation was fascinating and I slid around on the leather back seat and listened intently. There are differences in what we believe, for sure, but we simply talked about them, with respect. He was kind, helpful and a truly honest and faithful man who wants nothing more than to treat other people well. He didn’t have to tell me, I just knew.

It’s kind of nice to know your cabbie isn’t going to rip you off for fear of not being forgiven in the afterlife.

We pulled up to the Sheraton Chicago and I entered the vortex of a social media conference. I re-learned that I spill a lot and I stumble a lot and I say the wrong thing a lot, but I still make friends and that’s mostly due to the Serenity Suite. I kept telling people that it’s kind of like a slumber party, only you don’t stay overnight in the suite. You go back to your room. We make a circle on couches and people put their feet up. We ate candy and fruit, granola and candy bars. There was even popcorn and chips. I wish we would have all been wearing our pajamas.

Every year it amazes me that just the right people find the Serenity Suite at just the right time for them. That place has magic in it, I swear.

Today I swept the kitchen floor and went to pay the water bill. The kids and I also went to Super Target to buy pretty much everything, since that’s what we were out of. I caught up on a little paperwork and spent time just looking at these three kids I adore and telling them over and over I missed them. They’re playing upstairs now and I’m listening, while typing and thinking that I should start dinner.

When does it stop? It doesn’t. I know.

At one point during BlogHer, I finally remembered to eat a whole meal, not just candy and apps from parties. I sat with some friends and we ate a fantastic steak dinner. We talked about what we want, about writing and about life. I told them how I used to think I had to chase God in a way. Like I had to figure Him out or figure Christianity out or at least figure out how to DO it right. What are all the steps to Heaven and can it be concrete like it is for my friend Javid? I told them that I’m finally starting to practice something I’ve come to know, slowly. I said that instead of seeking “after” God, I’d rather be IN Him. Or maybe more like next to Him. Like, Hey Dude, what are we doing today? And, I’m going upstairs now, come with! 

I feel an instant openness when I’m mindful like this and that’s the only time I see that magic is happening all the time, not just when in the Serenity Suite. It is in a cab and in the elevator and in the person seated next to me on the plane. I mean, not to sound too ridiculous but it is even in sweeping the floor and walking up the far left or right side of the stairs to try not to smash down that path up the middle in the carpet.

Then in an instant, I don’t. I feel angry and sad, over-stimulated and exhausted. There’s no explanation other than the fact that at some point each day, I hit a wall and the wall is enough to keep me too tired for mindfulness. I am someone who was kind and soft all day and then wham! I’m yelling over them, STOP YELLING. Can I get a moment?!

It’s like all day long I’ve been riding in the back of a taxi, having a nice time, watching my patience and taking deep breaths and then all of the sudden everything around sounds like one HOOOOONK and it feels like we’re going to crash and I can’t concentrate on what the driver is saying. Nothing is funny or interesting. I’m bristled and reactionary and I’ll need forgiveness, Muslim or not.

It happened suddenly, at a party at BlogHer. I was fine and then I wasn’t. Too loud, too much, too many people. And my clothes were suddenly tight and the lights were too bright. I looked at Ellie and we left, back to our room.

Here or there, with my children and out doing my own thing, everywhere. A breath, lines in the carpet from familiar paths, a message understood with eye contact, impatience and yelling, whispering prayers past a cemetery and shoulders tightening. In the midst of all things, another chance to try again.

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This is the 94th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.} I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page, and please don’t link to posts that are not freely written in the spirit of capturing moments–you know, don’t link to how-to posts, lists or sponsored posts. Also, please link back to this post in yours so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.

Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word? Thank you!



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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate July 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

This is beautiful, Heather, and aptly sums up just exactly how a strong faith can feel. One moment it’s all perfect, like a summer breeze, and the next, a sudden storm takes over and you’re like ‘Whoa’.

The tiniest of moments really are the ones that make me gasp in awe at this life I have, during the waking times, the time I take a walk and the sun hits the trees just so, even in those beautiful moment when my son smiles at me in pure love. To stay focused on all that is the prize that I strive for, and let the end result take care of itself.
Kate recently posted..a season of blueberries

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Kim Jorgensen Gane July 30, 2013 at 9:16 am

*sigh* Yes, I could have used some of that…. I always delight so in your writing, Heather. I sort of feel like I popped into the Serenity Suite and put my feet up just then.

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tara pohlkotte July 30, 2013 at 9:29 am

ok, now this makes me even more sad that I didn’t get to hug you in person…because I had this long talk with my brother after I got back from BlogHer about just this. How I wish to steal off with you and talk in fragmented, learning, passionate ways about this whole journey. I know that you are definitely someone I learn from, and am grateful for the way you let us all see the process. I think it is hard work keeping your heart exposed like that, you know? like your ribs ache from keeping them pulled back to expose your heart, when all they want to do is close up around it, keep it safe. keep it protected. but then, you come along and force your heart to grow to everything you experience, and it doesn’t fit in that little cavity anymore. sometimes this is painful. sometimes, it is just damn fantastic for the beauty of it all. {and sometimes, I leave long winded comments. but, whatever.}
tara pohlkotte recently posted..This One Time? At BlogHer?

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Cheryl at Busy Since Birth July 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

He really thought you didn’t look strong, what with your one too-big eye and your bulbous nose? Seriously? :)

I have a feeling you’re one of the strongest people I (now) have the pleasure of knowing.
Cheryl at Busy Since Birth recently posted..I Need to Remember This.

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Tiffany July 30, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I get like that too sometimes. I’m fine and then, bam!, I need quiet.
Tiffany recently posted..Just Write

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Elizabeth @ Rocks, No Salt Mommy July 30, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Fabulous post. I understand the feeling if being fine and than Wham! suddenly just being over it. I am the same way. Completely social and happy one minute, then ready to be alone and in my pjs one minute later. I’m glad you had fun at BlogHer. I fully intend on going next year!
Elizabeth @ Rocks, No Salt Mommy recently posted..Don’t Make Me Grab My Boobs

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