2012. I'm tucked in the corner of a sweaty gym. It's Zumba day and I like to sneak in for the last twenty minutes of class to loosen up after lifting. I hope to disappear into the multicolored lights that stream from the ceiling, to dance without anybody noticing my awkwardness.
My friend in the front row doesn't share my sentiment. She sways back and forth to the music, not a care, and showing no interest as to whether or not anybody's watching. The moment is hers. She's free. Not one second of her seventy years is a match for the energy that pours out of her. I catch myself staring and forget my own steps. Smiling, I decide right then that I want to be just like her "when I grow up".
"Somedays she has no idea how she'll do it. But every single day, it still gets done." Unknown
“The world feels lonely right now,” she says to me plainly. There aren’t any tears but she slouches, body casually sprawled over the armchair. I can tell by the way she shrugs that she doesn’t expect me to answer, it’s just that she needs somebody to witness the state of her life.
Witness. As in, “Will you vouch for the fact that I’m still breathing? Because I feel invisible…”
My beautiful friend—talented and kind, gainfully employed, volunteer extraordinaire—lonely. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anybody…
It's August already. How did that happen? Time flies as the beach beckons, complete with an oversized umbrella and a glass of sweet tea. Many of us have been on the wedding circuit these past few months. Rather than traveling the Tour de Nuptiale, perhaps you've celebrated an anniversary recently. Summertime brings more than its share of opportunities to examine our own relationships as we lend our support to others'.
Want more faith and encouragement in your day? Be sure to check out all the great writers gathering for the #GritUpAndGo Writer Share directly following this post!
“We never say the ‘D’ word in our house,” the older woman informs me with pride. “We both know it’s not an option so we make it work. We’ve been married over thirty years now.”
As I listen, I’m obviously happy for her. I also wonder if she and her husband are “good fighters.” Does one partner always get his or her way? Does the other concede and stay secretly resentful? My therapist mind kicks into action, but I decide it’s none of my business to ask…maybe another time.
My hands are ripped, there’s chalk smudged across my midsection, and my mind is fried from a killer week of stress. Forget controlling my thoughts, they’re as powder-swirled and black as my t-shirt. There’s no more patience left for myself. I’ve given it all away...
There are nine of us women. The colors in our eyes are varied - shades of chocolate browns, hazels, greens, and the brightest blues. Our bodies are agile, slow-moving, thin, tall, round, and petite. Our ages range from eighty-seven to eleven. We’re grandmothers, mothers, and young women waiting to discover the rest of our lives.
I call us family.
Here we are. Face hidden beneath my straw hat, tiny dots of sun sneak through the spaces of the finely woven material. I'm sprawled on my back, half-daydreaming and eyelids heavy, when I feel his hand rest on my arm. It took a couple of days for my husband and I to discover our old "relaxed" selves, but we're here now. Present. Counting no time except beats between each wave lapping the shoreline. This is our view for the day and I'm convinced it's a glimpse of heaven.
We've discussed stress together in the past. We've explored topics like our brain chemistry, families, prayer tips, symptoms of stress, and stress eating. This time, I'm taking a different angle, so here are three (over-looked) reasons that you need to get away...
Believer. Wife. Mom. Writer. Marriage and Family Therapist. Accidental Speaker. Crossfitter and Total Book Nerd.
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PEOPLE I FOLLOW:
BECAUSE I LEARN:
BECAUSE I LAUGH:
Elizabeth Laing Thompson
Liz Curtis Higgs
BECAUSE I ADVOCATE:
Juli Slattery at Authentic Intimacy
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Inspiring Writing Groups:
Suzanne Eller's #LiveFreeThrusday
Holley Gerth's #CoffeeForYourHeart
Kelly Balarie's #RaraLinkup
Jennifer Duke Lee's #TellHisStory
Susan Mead's #DanceWithJesus