2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean
This story combines an experience with answers to some of my why.
I am narrating from my perspective, my beliefs, and my heart. I’m telling this true story because it is critical to me that we pay better attention to how we treat people. How we leave someone else feeling. How what we do today can make a difference to someone else in a positive way. No. Maybe they can’t see it yet. But my only job is to be the proof. Lead by example. It’s possible to stay upright in very windy conditions with a strong anchor. A heavy base. A good structure.
Join me today as I share with you.
Colorado or Bust. Adventure with Us. Pockets. Do you Mind. Angels Wings. So many different title options for this entry. I chose ‘Angels have Pockets’ based on the feeling I want to leave you with at the end of this read.
I hope you enjoy.
Let’s go. No questions asked. Pack a few bags and just leave.
So we did. From pajamas to presentable, we were on the road within an hour. Off to see the sister. The wonderful sister of…… Okay. Okay. Off to see Jennie, Steven, Sydney and Loki.
Don’t forget to feed the fish. Omg. What about the cats?
Knock, knock, knocking on neighbors door.
Would you mind checking on our fur and fin kids while we take a mini vacation?
Of-course we don’t mind. We enjoy seeing those cats.
Oh thank you, thank you, thank you.
Peace out Missouri.
Zoom, zoom, zoom.
Colorado here we come.
*Things my husband said driving in Kansas*
“Someone’s got a lot of money in fence.“
“Look, there’s nothing out here.”
“Damn, it’s 89 degrees out here.”
“Yep. I meant to do that.”
“Hey, a billboard.”
“At least we have food signs now.”
“Look! It’s 90 degrees. I didn’t think I would see that again until next year.”
“Damn, I was doing great until road construction!”
“Do me a favor honey and take your mask off.”
“Oops, He just got him one.”
“Look at those windmills would ya.”
“Yes. We’re in Salina. Salina Kansas.”
Brother-in-law awaits us at 11:30 p.m. He wakes Jennie. She stumbles down the hallway. Surprise. Sister says a few choice words as the visit was unexpected. No one wakes her after 9 pm unless there is a fire. Well, unless you’re the big sister showing up at damn near midnight . You can only imagine the choice words she spoke. The hug made the words disappear though. Wow. She’s vicious, I giggle as I write.
My ribs hurt. My heart is full.
An over due dose of belly laughs. An over due dose of unconditional love. I think those things are important. Critical. A necessary necessity.
How can time go by so fast? Slow down. We’re all getting older and still have so many things we want to do.
What a beautiful weekend we had. Family and a friend who’s family, all together. These are the moments I live for. My niece, aka my music teacher. She always has a new band for me to fall in love with. Can’t forget Loki. The beautiful black dog that doesn’t care if I say her or him because love is enough and I love that darn dog.
It was not until Saturday morning lying so comfortably on an air mattress that I knew why we left in such a hurry and so sporadic on Friday. ( no air mattress is ever comfortable) But in that moment it was the most comfortable bed I’ve ever rested on. I felt that I could sleep there every night for the rest of my life. (I would probably upgrade to a mattress pad one day but nothing mattered like the peaceful feeling that consumed me)
It will be a quick two days. But I’ll never forget them.
The heart knows what the heart needs. Our hearts needed them. That was evident as I sat among my sister, brother-in-law and husband on the back patio of their Colorado home.
Since I met my husband, we have lived. There’s no denying that. We have laughed, and we have cried. Truly, we have loved and laughed more than anything else we’ve done. Maybe just the timing. I don’t know. What I do know is what we have in common. That is not taking our day’s for granted. We are nice people. If we get mad or upset with you that means you have reached a level of disrespecting us we refuse to tolerate.
How we live and what we consider living, may not be the kind of living that romantic flights to Paris may be considered. But we have lived nonetheless. So much so, and in such a short amount of time.
How is it even possible to cram so much good into only a couple of years? I’m still living that part so maybe I’ll be able to update this page one day. Write an entire book about the things yet to come. Anything’s possible.
I deeply believe when a soul’s been missing pieces, the right people fit perfectly. Like birds of a feather that flock together. A piece to a puzzle that was lost in the couch cushions. Found. What was broken, now put together.
This morning, under the sunshine that snuck through a tall pine tree, I saw the happiest husband in the world. I wish I could put that moment into words. I suppose it was one of those majestic moments that you just have to feel, see and memorize. His smile. That joyful grin. The look of peace he was wearing. I’ll never forget that look as long as I live.
That’s why this trip happened. To remind us that life can be serious and it can be fun. It can be full of adventure one day and nitty gritty the next. But if we could all just lighten up a little bit that would be great.
I say that like I’m complaining but if it weren’t for a pair of cranky pants, this trip may have not happened. Okay. Go ahead. Carry on. Be a jerk. Maybe we’ll take more trips because of it. Just kidding. Or am I?
Indeed, I have no clue how stressed anyone else is. Maybe someone is having a bad day. I don’t know. Not my circus therefore not my monkey. I try to use that to limit what I allow in my life.
I know truly, madly, and deeply that I don’t get a re-do. I’m 46. I’ve been a jerk more than my fair share. Not the me I am today. Not the me I want you to remember. Not the me that enjoys life.
I don’t have to be a jerk. You don’t have to be a jerk. More importantly, I don’t have to accept you treating me less than I treat you.
Think about it. How do you want to spend what could be your last day? Uptight? Blood pressure through the roof? Yelling, cussing, frenzied. I get it. We all get stressed. But do you really have to be a jerk? I am sorry to tell you this but that’s a choice. So don’t you dare get upset when someone decides that they aren’t going to accept the way you treat them.
We all have our days. I just can’t help believe we are capable of being much nicer people in general. Especially to one another. Go kick a brick or something if you’re mad. Something that has no heart. Something made up of concrete instead of feelings.
Do I wake up every morning in a good mood? No, I do not. I don’t always roll out of bed feeling peachy. When my feet hit the floor I often feel a zap in my sciatic nerve. On the way to the bathroom, I’m two left feet. Eyes glued shut from sleep gunk. No. I assure you that first morning pee is not full of glitter. In fact I feel a UTI coming on. Shit, is it a pulled muscle again? Ugh. Hard to differentiate at 5:00 am. I say “ugh,” more than I cheer some mornings.
I suppose I’ve reached a new level of Jumanji. Waking up in a good mood is possible.
Grandma always said, “You are going to sleep your life away.”
“Sure Grandma. Uh huh. Whatever.” said younger, know it all me.
Grandma was right though. I wish I could go back and have early morning coffee with her. Damn it. She was always awake early. She always appeared to be in a good mood. I now understand why.
I appreciate all the hours in a day that I get to be creative. I can’t do that sleeping. Hence, the change in my lifestyle.
Wake up and be a better person than I was yesterday.
Wake up and share the hour with my husband before he leaves to start his work day.
Wake up and watch the sunrise out my bedroom window.
Wake up and take a drink of coffee for Grandma.
Wake up and take a deep breath that I can feel from head to toe as I stretch myself more awake.
I can tell you, from the moment I realize I am awake, I am grateful. I have another opportunity to make memories. I don’t always say, “Thank you God.” But, I’m aware of the gift of a new day. I’m grateful to open my eyes and see my husband. My cat’s. I can’t wait to start the day and watch what I write make sense. Visit with friends and coworkers. Appreciate each one of them.
That’s truly my goal. Be the best me possible now. Not in a month or two. Not in a year. Not tomorrow. Today.
Live 80 years just to enjoy and appreciate 1, 2, 5, maybe 6 of them?
Appreciate the hummingbird bird floating around the big red canna flower out my back door in a few years because I’m too distracted and busy to see the beauty of it today?
Wait until I’m 71 to cruise down the highway and appreciate the sunrise peeking over the top of the rolling hills that lay in front of me?
I’m sorry friend, I can’t listen this morning. I have too many things to do. I’ll call you tonight or tomorrow.
Damn it. I’m so guilty of that. I use other things to stay so busy I don’t have to look at what is genuinely most important. You. Them. Us. Now.
Is that who I want to be? Is that my purpose? To be so busy creating my future, my retirement and a tomorrow I may never see that I can’t respect your time now? Today?
NO. I will not accept that.
I will do my best to genuinely mean my smiles throughout the day. My gratitude list will continue to grow. I will keep living and experiencing as many firsts as possible. When I hug you, I won’t take that hug for granted. When you share a story with me, I want to memorize it. When you smile as you speak of something you are passionate about, I want to paint that image across a mountainside. I want to give your passion my utmost respect, and honor it.
Everyone has either a full life ahead of them, a day, an hour or perhaps just one more second. If I don’t wake up tomorrow, I choose extra happy today because it’s possible I’ll never see you again. If that annoys you then that’s just on you. Not a weight I’m willing to carry any longer.
If I live to a ripe old age of ( be it any number ) I hope you can remember how happy I was. In fact, as we all grow older I hope we can inspire each other to literally live as if tomorrow may never show up. No guarantees.
Grateful for every new day? Is that really even a thing? It is when you make it to middle age like I am now. “Why?” you ask. Insert (Because I said so) here.
This out of nowhere trip to Colorado carved something into my heart like first crush initials deep in a tree.
Seriously. I can’t waste anymore time. I’ve already outlived my father and a daughter. I have been given an opportunity to show my respect to them by the gift of life. That idea came later and hit hard; But a gift nonetheless.
Them to me, “A Gift? Are you high? Drunk? Delusional? Pain is nothing like receiving a gift.”
You’re absolutely right. It’s not. Not your typical gift I suppose. It isn’t in a pretty package with a shiny bow. That’s for certain. It’s different. It’s like air. Like sight. Like a 7th sense. I wish I could bottle it up and give it to you. The only way I can advise you to get the gift I’m referring to is to not give up. It’s a gift that waits for you. There when you’re ready.
It’s the light you don’t see yet at the end of a tunnel. It’s the smile you will get when a cardinal appears. It’s the strength you use to get out of bed in the morning. It’s a hug you receive from a friend. It’s the penny you’ll see on the ground when you open your car door. It’s the random memory that pops into your head out of nowhere. It’s the new people you meet that embrace you like they have known you forever.
I admit it. Somedays I’m overly optimistic. Before judging that though, consider that I’m that way because being such a realist was too gloomy. I don’t want sadness to be the end of my story. I want my story to have a happy ending. In order for that to happen, I have to become the very ending that I want to have.
I intend to write that ending out from now to the very last page, by how I live. How I treat other people will define me. What I do everyday will become my signature. If I hiccup. I’ll face that, if and when it comes. No one is perfect. Right? Please tell me you understand that.
I understand there are days, weeks and hours that we have to take seriously. No light footing allowed. Nose to the grind. Jobs don’t get finished by nice guys. I suppose that’s true to an extent. I won’t reiterate my thoughts on this today. That will come another time. But I will share this. I believe being a jerk is unnecessary. What purpose does it serve? Can’t life be hard enough as it is sometimes? Why risk adding insult to injury for someone by being mean to them?
Life can feel like an eternity when each day is spent trying to tread through mud made of anxiety, tears and broken hearts. It gets heavy. It’s exhausting. I remember often wanting to fall flat into the mud and drown.
People threw ropes to me. Life lines. Hope and affirmations I wanted to vomit on. Angrily, weighed down and addicted, I tromped and I crawled. I got very tired but I held onto the thin thread of possibility that I could make it. I can only write this because I didn’t let go.
When we lose loved one’s, not everyone will show up feeling the joy in a celebration of life ceremony. Death is painful. It’s understandable that we can’t find our funny bones in such events. I promise you I understand that. I have kicked dirt on my fair-share of tombstones. I don’t want that to be the last memory you have of me. I don’t want your last memory of me to be broken.
If one day I am 80, I hope you’ll take me with you. One last hoorah. Be it in a book you write or a memory we have shared together.
Maybe I’ll repeat over and over again how I was never married because truly the man I am married to is too good to be true. I must be dreaming. Maybe I’ll think you are him and him, my son.
Maybe you’ll sit next to me on a park bench and I’ll tell you about the day my children were born. I’ll tell you how being their mother was the most monumental moments of my lifetime.
I want to hold your hand and watch a sunrise chase a sunset. Tell you all about the time I watched the moon play peek~a~boo in Colorado. Maybe I’ll repeat the story a thousand times because my age has taken its toll.
It terrifies me to know a day could come that I might not know the name of my children, my family, siblings, loved ones or friends.
If that day does come, I want you to remember something. Please. Remember this. I lived and I loved with every piece of me.
My mind may be disappear, diminish, and even play tricks on me. But my spirit has wings. My wingspan is vast, and full of pockets. Pockets that I carry you all in.
We all go through ups and downs. Such as life. What’s important is the turns. When we get shook a little sideways or knocked off track it helps to have people in our corner to remind us of what we’re made of. Your people. Made just for you. Those kind of people. You need them. They need you.
The people to remind us to quit white knuckling everything. To tell us the sun is a reminder we can be more kind. Telling us to remember to smile more. To help us never forget that the moon shows up to remind us to hold onto hope and pray more. To hold someone else’s hand and help them up more. To ultimately experience…….true love more.
Today, tomorrow and every day after that, I promise you this; My mind may forget it all. But, my heart and soul never will. My wings have pockets and there’s room for all of you.
Angels have Jean Pockets
2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean