It's Thursday, December first and I have a sunburn from playing too long at the beach yesterday. A beach so beautiful and water so pale blue I don't think I could ever tire of looking at it. But...it's December, and I'm not vacationing on some tropical island. I live here. I. Live. On. An. Island. In. The. Middle. Of. The. Pacific. Was that enough pronounced pauses for you to get my point across? Good. Because I. Like. Doing. That.
It's easy for me to become so swept up in the every day details that I forget to stop and just...be. My life has been so rushed, so seemingly hurried and shuffled from one place to the next for what seems like forever, living in limbo. And then we finally got our house and I got sick. SO sick I had to leave this island almost as soon as I got here. Leave it with boxes yet unpacked and shelves yet unstocked. In limbo again, my health and sight now balancing on an invisible tightrope that only God could see. When I finally came back, I was still recovering and taking huge doses of pills every day...and not the fun kind. Everything became so overwhelming, all the boxes, all the pills, all the children and animals underfoot. I couldn't breathe; I couldn't hear myself think.
All the familiar lifelines I used when my husband was at work were now on the other side of the world, sleeping when I needed to call someone the most. There were a few days when I almost lost what I felt was an already precarious grip on my sanity. I hurt all over; the sadness that I knew was from the prednisone felt crushing and oppressive. I cried and ate a lot of ice cream. And then I cried because I had eaten a lot of ice cream. I felt waves of guilt for taking out my own problems on my family. You always hurt the ones you love. And then...
Slowly, almost unnoticeably, because it was so gradual, I began to feel better. I didn't cry over spilt milk any more, I just went back to yelling about it. I got out of bed and could straighten my back right away. This might sound funny, but you should have seen me before. I looked like your octogenarian grandpa..with teeth. I could go outside again without fear of my skin instantly burning from all of the medicine I was taking.(SIDE NOTE: I so kind of wished I could go out in the burning sun while on that medicine and see my skin begin to smoke under the sun and yell out to a gawking crowd: SEE! Vampires burn, they don't sparkle! We BURRRRRRRRRNNNNNN! What a cruel world, what a world!!!!) Because I wasn't taking it any more. HURRAY!
So often I want things to happen instantly. My house put together. To feel better. To be happy right now. But life just doesn't work that way and it always has a way of teaching me patience. Of taking one day, one step at a time. And so now that's what I'm doing. Just. Being.
I wake up as the sun is rising over the hill, the sky a gradient blue. The breeze blows through the palms and they rustle, sounding like rain. Somewhere in the jungle just outside the fence, a rooster tells the world it's a new day. Nature's alarm clock. I stand on my hill, barefoot, in the yard of my house. My bare feet wet and my robe blowing around my knees. It's December. I have a sunburn. I have a house. I have a yard. I can see out of both of my eyes. There is so much love in my life that my eyes spontaneously leak when I see moments of happiness and demonstrations of kindness. My friend Rachel would call this "small tears".
I think of Rachel, and all the people I love, many of them so very far away. It is the only thing that makes this experience bittersweet. I don't think I know what life could be like without a little pain. I have almost come to appreciate it. I think about my mom, my dad and there is an ache in my heart. The space and water between us seem impossible to breach. And yet there is a peace in my heart right next to the place where it hurts. Because I know this is the place I'm supposed to be. This island. This time. Right now.
They say that living on this island can make or break a marriage. I think it's making mine. We have stood barefoot once again, in the dark, with our arms around each other and our heads bent back gazing at the stars more times than I can count. Together we watch our children, our children, play in a yard we have pined for for so long, and they seem to grow before our very eyes. We catch each other's gaze and the weightiness and beauty of these small moments seem to pass through us simultaneously. We smile at each other, never having to say a word, because we just. Understand. This. Is. It. Our life. The life we sat on the porch and imagined when we were 21. These are the children we wondered about. They have your eyes. This is growing old with you. It's so beautiful it hurts me and any words I could try to summon would fall short of the depth that connects our hearts.