Yesterday was a special day. “Happy Anniversary!” my friend texted me.
The anniversary I was celebrating wasn’t your typical one. It wasn’t a romantic one, a sober one, or even a friendship one.
Yesterday marked three years since the day I walked out of the hospital where I worked, quit my job as an I.C.U. nurse, and began a new chapter in my life. It chronicles the first time I gave myself permission to be something else, someone more like who I’ve always been.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know about all of the ups and downs that ensued. You know the journey hasn’t always been easy, straightforward, or celebrated. It’s taken me to a lot of places both externally, and internally.
Yet, when I look back at that night I pushed the heavy Emergency Doors open and walked out into a silent parking lot illuminated with street lamps, I know it was a turning point. A ‘before and after‘ moment I can point to and clearly see that who I was before, and who I’ve become since are very, very different.
When I realized this anniversary was coming, I thought about holding a public celebration. I thought about going out to a nice dinner, drinking champagne, and toasting to what the next three years might hold. In some ways, I wanted to honor this day in a grandiose manner because it’s had such a huge influence on my life.
As it turns out, I had a quiet, more contemplative day. I stayed off social media. I spent some time with Faith and the chickens and took my grandmother shopping.
These gal pals are inseparable.
Grain Valley, MO 2016
“Aren’t we blessed?” she giggled to me as the kind lady at the jewelry counter replaced her watch battery for free. “Aren’t we just having the best time?” she laughed again as we picked out colorful clothes for her new spring wardrobe. “Well, how ‘bout that!” she raised her eyebrows as the car in front of us paid for her large iced tea. “I’m so glad you’re home,” she said again as we sat in the car wash, eating cinnamon rolls and licking our fingers.
Last night I dreamed I was back in the I.C.U. A terrible accident occurred and the whole building began sinking, like an out of control elevator crashing from the highest floor. In my dream I braced myself for imminent death, holding on to the patients and waiting for impact.
When I woke up, I was alive. I was safe. Reborn.
Isn’t that what spring is all about? Allowing ourselves to die to the old so we can embrace the new? So we can return home to ourselves, full circle?
The more life I experience, the more I’m convinced there is no death. Just shedding of outgrown bodies, experiences, and relationships. Just transformation and the magical in-between moments of transition which hold the fullest potential because they are neither here, nor there. Just breath and then the absence of breath.
What anniversary could you celebrate today? What step could you take toward renewal, toward new life, toward embracing Spring?
Wherever you are, may you feel the knowing that you are exactly where you are meant to be, that every step toward healing is the right step, and that an open heart is an invitation for grace to fill our most hollow places.
With light and love,