Waiting for the bus.
I am waiting for the bus and I feel free. I had forgotten how joyful this feeling could be–and how paradoxical. That movement of standing, shifting from one foot to the next, looking down the lane for the tell-tale sign of blinking lights, straining to see if the number is the one you need.
But then also the sensation of sun rays on the top of your head and the motion of the city swirling all around while you watch. Not separate, not boxed in by rows of windows or wheels with metal, but part of this living, breathing organism.
It reminds me of Chicago and winter, of Ghana and a radiating heat that stuck to my skin like muddy rivers of red dirt. It reminds me of the color mustard and how I wore it for more than a year, strapped to my back, waiting and smoking and leaving and saying hello again and again.
The freedom I feel while waiting for the bus. I smile and take note of an unexpected upside to a week full of quite a few downsides.
Of course, I am waiting for the bus not because I am traveling or because public transportation is one of my favorite things (even though it really is), but because my car is in the shop. After breaking down at the airport at 2am. After being towed by the city because the first tow truck didn’t arrive on time. After being towed by a third tow truck from the impound lot to the shop where my very favorite mechanic (also true) informed me the repairs would be over $1,100.
A lady a few feet away is also waiting for her bus. She is wearing tight leopard print leggings with a bright red, spandex shirt tucked in. Leopard earrings dangle from her ears and she carries a matching clutch. On her feet are a pair of (you guessed it) red tennis shoes. Her head sports a smart looking cap of the same color.
She matches from top to bottom. Bright red and leopard print. She must be in her late 60’s, early 70’s, I decide and she looks fabulous. I smile so wide I’m sure she’ll notice me staring in total delight.
This morning, I woke up late to the sound of rain. I pitter pattered downstairs, brewed some coffee, and pulled out an assortment of tall, green bottles from the cupboard.
“The bathroom ceiling is leaking,” one of my roommates called to me from the stairs with a sense of urgency while I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to shove three pills down the throat of my dog.
“Of course it is,” I thought, sticky residue and slobber still on my fingers from a far too intimate encounter with the inside of Maya’s mouth.
A leaky roof.
A broken down car.
A broken leg needing surgery.
The list of recent crises is long and the details not that interesting. Suffice to say the last month has been intense. Relentless. I’ve felt ragged and run-down and also numb, like I’m just living on auto-pilot, throwing water on one fire after the other until the water is literally leaking through my roof and into my house.
The freedom I feel while waiting on the bus. The lady dressed in red and leopard print. I smile again.
Sitting on my couch with an entire Sunday spread out before me, I feel nourished. Grateful. I am giving myself the time to be. An entire day to write and rest and bless what might be disasters but might also be, gifts.
Time to let the dust settle a little bit and take stock.
The question on my heart as the stress seems to multiply continues to be, What’s the lesson? What am I meant to be learning? Releasing? Healing?
Pain in the body is nothing more than a signal transmitted to the brain so that a response can take place. Sometimes the pain is sharp and immediate and all we need to do is withdraw from the source of it. Other times, it’s slow and steady and takes time to heal from the inside.
A warning, slow or fast. Sharp or dull. Something is needed. Something is missing.
I’m still in the process of looking at crisis in the same way. Not labeling it as good or bad, but seeing it as a warning. A message trying to get through. Something is needed.
Something warrants further attention.
Not just the melted electrical parts, the broken bone, and worn out shingles. Especially not when they come all at once. These are just the symptoms, like the pain signals our body sends to our brain.
External crises are signals to our soul.
I’m still interpreting. Still listening. Not really sure what it all means yet or what the big picture will be. It’s still a little fuzzy, buzzing like a transformer throwing sparks, lighting up a stormy sky.
For today, all I know is that it means rest. Savoring the upsides. Finding joy in small moments of freedom.
The lessons will come, and so will clarity. They always do.