This morning marked the blood moon when early “morning people” saw both the big red moon and the rising sun in the same sky.
My friend, Lou, checked in to make sure I didn’t miss it. The rolling out of bed on a non-running day was creaky, but the sleepy moon sitting with the morning sun made me very quiet.
I stood outside in running shorts and a sweatshirt and let the Starbucks fill in the chilly places within.
I drove around looking for the best place to view the moon and found – almost too late – that the greatest show was at my own address and across the parking lot against the trees.
Big fat tears tried to roll their way into the shadow of the waning moon. I began to think of all of the things in memory that had been ushered in, bathed in pain, and that I ultimately would have hated to miss.
Madi and Kenan: childbirth is no picnic for most. Three days with one and 17 hours of bumpy contractions with the other following full seasons of morning/noon/evening sickness and I would do it all again. Every day. For the privilege of being their mum.
Pat, my brother: he died right as my sophomore year at Georgia Southern began. I was on the pay-as-you-go plan and trying to secure a swim scholarship – losing him was devastating. But before he left us, he had a few months of fighting valiantly against the cancer that consumed him. He laughed. He was brave. He was unguarded. He was his funny self with buckets of thoughtfulness and love. He took me to the NASA Air and Space Museum even though it made him exhausted because he knew I’d nerdily love it.
Returning to the Flint Hills: I cannot replay the reasons, but they were among the cruelest of violences. Returning has brought doubt and tears and regret…that led way to unfettered humility and a willingness to finally ask for help. Friends. Family. the Flint Hills. Familiar faces and features of a landscape I love. New faces. Rest in the returning.*
The returning was not without its own struggle, but I am learning that “just because” I can work myself to bits to do good things or try to please, I do not have to. That people matter and the only legacy I long for is a loving brave heart offered where needed and a table where conversations and great adventure begin. I may never do “great things” again, but I have peace.
And in leaving the friends in the North Georgia hills – these people who launch and leave and learn and love and offer fresh water in places and to people that most of us will never know – In knowing them and later leaving them, I am assured that there is good in the world. I’m talking to you Betty, Alexandra, Amy B., Crock, KTT, and the Lauras of far-off India.
There is good in the world.
Had I stayed in the track of “getting things done” without the risks of brokenness and a broken heart, I would have missed it all…or most.
I would have hated to miss it.
Still searching for the North Star.
* The first bible verse I ever learned was Isaiah 30:15 and it is dogging me as I write this post. It goes like this (as I remember): “In rest and relaxation is your salvation and in quietness and confidence (trust) is your strength.”